Study Shows Even a Single Adjustment Helps Neck Pain

A study published in the September 2006 issue of the scientific journal, The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, (JMPT), showed that a single chiropractic adjustment helps neck pain. Although most chiropractors will recommend more than a single adjustment for their patients, this study was designed to see if one adjustment only could have an immediate effect on neck pain.

In this study 70 patients with neck pain were tested using standardized tests for neck range of motion and pain. These subjects were randomly separated into two groups. One group then received a chiropractic adjustment which the study defined as a “high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) manipulation.” While the other group received a “control mobilization procedure.” The subjects in both of these groups were then re-tested 5 minutes after the procedure for range of motion and pain.

The results showed that both groups experienced improvements in both range of motion and pain when comparing the pre and post testing. However, the researchers discovered that those subjects that received the chiropractic adjustment (HVLA) had far superior results than the group that had just mobilization. Researchers also noted that it did not matter if the subject was male or female. Essentially, the group that had the chiropractic adjustment had less pain and a better range of motion when tested 5 minutes after the procedure was performed.

This study intentionally did not look at the long term effects of just a single adjustment. Most chiropractors believe that a series of adjustments are needed to create a lasting change in the spine and nervous system. However, this study does confirm that even a single specific adjustment does create an immediate positive change. This study also points out that a chiropractic adjustment is much more effective than random mobilization, such as was received by the control group in this study.

The researchers stated in their conclusion, “A single cervical high velocity-low amplitude manipulation was more effective in reducing neck pain at rest and in increasing active cervical range of motion than a control mobilization procedure in subjects suffering from mechanical neck pain.”