There is a lack of high-quality evidence supporting the use of manipulation therapy for patients with cervical radiculopathy (CR). This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of Shi-style cervical manipulations (SCMs) versus mechanical cervical traction (MCT) for CR.Methods:
This was a randomized, open-label, controlled trial carried out at 5 hospitals in patients with CR for at least 2 weeks and neck pain. The patients received 6 treatments of SCM (n = 179) or MCT (n = 180) over 2 weeks. The primary outcome was participant-rated disability (neck disability index), measured 2 weeks after randomization. The secondary outcomes were participant-rated pain (visual analog scale) and health-related quality of life (36-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-36]). Assessments were performed before, during, and after (2, 4, 12, and 24 weeks) intervention.Results:
After 2 weeks of treatment, the SCM group showed a greater improvement in participant-rated disability compared with the control group (P = .018). The SCM group reported less disability compared with the control group (P < .001) during the 26-week follow-up. The difference was particularly important at 6 months (mean −28.91 ± 16.43, P < .001). Significant improvements in SF-36 were noted in both groups after 2 weeks of treatment, but there were no differences between the 2 groups.Conclusion:
SCM could be a better option than MCT for the treatment of CR-related pain and disability.