Radiculomedullary complications of cervical spinal manipulation

L. Padua, R. Padua, M. LoMonaco, P. A. Tonali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spinal manipulation is commonly used by some therapists for the treatment of cervical pain. Flexion-extension of the cervical spine produces sliding movements of one vertebra over the one below it, which leads to physiological reduction in the antero-posterior diameter of the spinal canal. Spinal manipulation provokes movements that exceed the physiological limits of these articulations and thereby lead to a more significant reduction of the canal diameter. In patients with pre-existing stenosis of the canal or those with vertebral instability, these movements may cause (or aggravate) myelopathy. For this reason, a thorough neurological examination and cervical spine films should be considered mandatory in patients being considered for spinal manipulation. This report describes four patients with cervical myelopathy and/or radiculopathy caused or aggravated by spinal manipulation. In one patient, magnetic resonance scans before and after chiropractic treatment strongly suggests that the disc prolapse syndrome experienced by the patient was provoked by the spinal manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-492
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Cervical disc protrusion
  • Myelopathy
  • Radiculopathy
  • Spinal manipulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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