Chiropractic treatment of radiculopathy

Radiculopathy is any disease of the spinal nerves. For example, a “slipped disc” often compresses a spinal nerve, resulting in radiculopathy. Patients complain of pain, which extends from the spine outward.

The PeaceHealth Medical Group, in Longview, Washington reports the outcomes following chiropractic management of radiculopathy in the hospital.

First, the details.

  • The records of 162 patients with radiculopathy were reviewed.
  • Treatment included chiropractic manipulation, neuromobilization, and exercise stabilization.
    • In neuromobilization, patients perform prescribed motions to encourage normalized nerve function and thereby decrease symptoms.
  • Pain intensity was measured using the numerical pain rating scale.

And, the results.

  • 86% of patients had resolution of complaints after an average of 9 treatment sessions.
  • The number of days between the first treatment and first symptom improvement was about 4 days.
  • Improvement in pain between initial and final score was 4.2.
  • 23 patients were referred for epidural steroid injection, further medication management, or surgery.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded there were “favorable outcomes for most of the patients with radiculopathy.” And, “the strategy appears to be safe.”

They also concluded that rigorous studies are “needed to separate treatment effectiveness from the natural history of radiculopathy.”

8/4/09 20:44 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.