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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is neck manipulation appropriate for herniated disc?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Dr. Aaron Albrecht works at Body Wise Chiropractic in Bibra Lake, Western Australia. The clinic is located within a gym, and Dr. Albrecht is the … View Profile


    The use of chiropractic manipulation may or may not be indicated based on several factors. In this case, we should first consider where the herniated disc is located. If the disc herniation is in the cervical spine (neck), then I would be hesitant to apply manipulation to the area and would be more likely to treat with mobilisation, traction or an activator. If the herniated disc is in another area of the spine, then treating the neck should not have any negative repurcussions.

    The use of adjustments to the neck if you have a herniated disc, say, in the low back may be aimed towards improving the function of the spine and nervous system in general, and allowing proper motor control and positional awareness by this means. In doing so, the theory is that the body will better be able to control its movement and prevent further damage to the affected area, as well as aiding in healing by restoring proper movement patterns for areas of the body below the part being adjusted (as motor control neurons run down from the brain through the spinal cord, and out through peripheral nerves from there).

    Hope this helps.

    - Dr. A

  • 1


    Stephen Lee


    I'm a qualified Physiotherapist based and a Credentialled Mckenzie Therapist in Heidelberg and in Reservoir. I have an interest in most musculoskeletal and orthopaedic conditions. … View Profile

    Before we jump into manipulation, it is important to assist the spine properly first. Generally speaking, a McKenzie physiotherapist (I am trained in this) will basically assist movements and we find out if there's any restriction in your neck, if there's any directional preference, and we just basically ask if there are any aggravating factors or aging factors.

    McKenzie practitioners follow a progressive force with assistance in treatment and manipulation will only be used if other treatment techniques are not improving the problem. It is obviously important to do certain exercises so that's where we come in and give you specific exercises and if required hands on treatment, so mobilisation or manipulation if required.

    In general, with herniated disc manipulation is not required unless the other treatment techniques don't work. So we follow a safe sort of protocol and start moving our way up. So, manipulation is usually the last resort if the other techniques don't work.

    So to answer your question in brief, a trained McKenzie physiotherapist would be good to assist your herniated disc.

  • 1


    Sandra McFaul


    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    Stephen's answer above is a good summary.  Often people improve without manipultation.  Basically the McKenzie Method follows a force progression principle …
    1.  patient exercise
    2.  exercise and patient overpressure
    3.  exericse and therapist overpressure
    4.  mobilisation - where someone pushes on your joints
    5.  manipulation - where someone cracks the joint and you are not in control

    By following this principle, it helps to ensure your safety when exercising or when people are applying force to your neck.

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