Courtesy of WCPT YouTube Video on Spinal Manipulation

The ratio has been shown to be ~40 : 2 in terms of cervical spine manipulations carried out per week by chiropractors (40) vs physical therapists (2) currently.  Interesting spec of figures and not surprised by the large difference.  Actually thought it would be larger! But, I do feel this will change in the next 5 to 10 years.  The ratio will decrease for multiple reasons.

1.  First and foremost, physical therapists will become the first choice for musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction across the country.  This whole thing of going to massage therapists, chiropractors or primary physicians should (hopefully!) phase out as the public becomes more aware of our services, and more importantly; our results.  But, we need to get results and not rely on old models of treatment. 

2.  How do we get these results?, well, it is done by increasing spinal manipulation research and teaching into post-graduate courses and even at the entry-level doctoral programs.  I know I include it in my clinical internship programs.  If students are integrated into it during their training, they will more likely to use it as a modality when they practice.

Do I think cervical spine manipulation is the panacea for neck pain?  No, not at all.  However, it can be a very useful modality that can get very good results when appropriate.  If we are to be specialists in musculoskeletal care, we need to be able to perform cervical spine manipulation in a safe, fitting, and therapeutic manner. 


One comment

  1. Those #’s can’t be correct. I didn’t watch the video, but is it of PTs who actually manipulate? The actual #’s who are doing true thrust, vs those who are not trained, or are against it must be huge. I train all my entry level DPT students, plus fellows in thrust, but some choose not to use it. I actually do only thrust 2-4 times/week ironically, but I think it’s because our bag of tricks is quite a bit more varied and not the emphasis of our curriculum.

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