Doctors from Brunel University in London say in an article published June 7 in the British Medical Journal that cervical spine manipulation is dangerous. The authors say it carries, along with other negative consequences, a low-risk of stroke.
Their article is a part of a widening controversy over spine manipulation. It's a technique for treating neck pain used by chiropractors, and other medical practitioners, and it's not the first time it's been questioned by others in the health-care field.
Spine Manipulation "inadvisable"
The article is entitled 'Should we abandon cervical spine manipulation for mechanical neck pain? Yes' and in it Neil O'Connell, Benedict M. Wand and Peter J. Heine of the Centre for Research and Rehabilitation at Brunel University strongly condemn cervical spine manipulation. They write it "may carry the potential for serious neurovascular complications" and that there are other, safer, methods of treating the problem.
"The potential for catastrophic events and clear absence of unique benefit lead to the inevitable conclusion that manipulation of the cervical spine should be abandoned as part of conservative care for neck pain," the authors write, adding the practice is "unnecessary and inadvisable."
In support of spine manipulation
There were dissenting opinions published in the same edition. Among them the British Chiropractic Association wrote that "the cherry-picking of poor quality research needlessly raises alarm in patients and does little to help the people suffering from neck pain and headaches to choose the most appropriate treatment."