Objective: The objective of this study was to gather descriptive information concerning the clinical outcomes of patients with cervical and lumbar radiculopathy treated with a nonsurgical, chiropractic treatment protocol in combination with other interventions.
Methods: This is a retrospective review of 162 patients with a working diagnosis of radiculopathy who met the inclusion criteria (312 consecutive patients were screened to obtain the 162 cases). Data reviewed were collected initially, during, and at the end of active treatment. The treatment protocol included chiropractic manipulation, neuromobilization, and exercise stabilization. Pain intensity was measured using the numerical pain rating scale.
Results: Of the 162 cases reviewed, 85.5 percent had resolution of their primary subjective radicular complaints. The treatment trial was 9 (mean) treatment sessions. The number of days between the first treatment date and the first symptom improvement was 4.2 days (median). There were 10 unresolved cases referred for epidural steroid injection, 10 unresolved cases referred for further medication management, and 3 cases referred for and underwent surgery.
Conclusion: The conservative management strategy we reviewed in our sample produced favorable outcomes for most of the patients with radiculopathy. The strategy appears to be safe. Randomized clinical trials are needed to separate treatment effectiveness from the natural history of radiculopathy.
Christensen KD, Buswell K. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. September 2008; Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 115-125.