Manual Therapy, Exercise, and Traction for Patients With Cervical Radiculopathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Young IA, Michener LA, Cleland JA, Aguilera AJ, Snyder AR

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of manual therapy and exercise, with or without the addition of cervical traction, on pain, function, and disability in patients with cervical radiculopathy. Patients diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy (N=81) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups: a group that received manual therapy, exercise, and intermittent cervical traction (MTEXTraction group) and a group that received manual therapy, exercise, and sham intermittent cervical traction (MTEX group). Intervention Patients were treated, on average, 2 times per week for an average of 4.2 weeks. There were no significant differences between the groups for any of the primary or secondary outcome measures at 2 weeks or 4 weeks. The effect size between groups for each of the primary outcomes was small.

The results suggest that the addition of mechanical cervical traction to a multimodal treatment program of manual therapy and exercise yields no significant additional benefit to pain, function, or disability in patients with cervical radiculopathy.

Physical Therapy, 2009 May 21, online article ahead of print

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