Cervical arterial dysfunction and manual therapy: A critical literature review to inform professional practice

Roger Kerry, Alan J. Taylor, Jeanette Mitchell and Chris McCarthy

This paper presents a critical, re-examination of relevant literature with the aim of providing a contemporary, evidence-informed review of key areas regarding the neurovascular risks of cervical spine manual therapy.

From a consideration of case reviews and surveys, haemodynamic principles, and blood flow studies, the authors suggest that: (1) it is currently impossible to meaningfully estimate the size of the risk of post-treatment complications; (2) existing testing procedures have limited clinical utility; and (3) a consideration of the association between pre-existing vascular risk factors, combined with a system based approach to cervical arterial haemodynamics (inclusive of the carotid system), may assist manual therapists in identifying at-risk patients.

Manual Therapy, 2008, 13(4), 278-288

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