Immediate effects of thoracic manipulation in patients with neck pain: a randomized clinical trial

Man Ther. 2005 May;10(2):127-35. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2004.08.005.


Mechanical neck pain is a common occurrence in the general population resulting in a considerable economic burden. Often physical therapists will incorporate manual therapies directed at the cervical spine including joint mobilization and manipulation into the management of patients with cervical pain. Although the effectiveness of mobilization and manipulation of the cervical spine has been well documented, the small inherent risks associated with these techniques has led clinicians to frequently utilize manipulation directed at the thoracic spine in this patient population. It is hypothesized that thoracic spine manipulation may elicit similar therapeutic benefits as cervical spine manipulation while minimizing the magnitude of risk associated with the cervical technique. The purpose of this randomized clinical trial was to investigate the immediate effects of thoracic spine manipulation on perceived pain levels in patients presenting with neck pain. The results suggest that thoracic spine manipulation results in immediate analgesic effects in patients with mechanical neck pain. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of thoracic spine manipulation in patients with neck pain on long-term outcomes including function and disability.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Orthopedic / methods*
  • Neck Pain / therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Research Design
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / physiopathology*
  • Treatment Outcome