Balance chiropractic therapy for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Abstract

BACKGROUND Cervical spondylosis is a very common disorder and cervical spondylotic radiculopathy (CSR) is the most common form of spinal degenerative disease. Its clinical manifestations focus on pain and numbness of the neck and arm as well as restricted movement of the neck, which greatly affect the patient's life and work. The orthopedic of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory holds that the basic pathologic change in spinal degenerative diseases is the imbalance between the dynamic system and the static system of the cervical spine. Based on this theory, some Chinese physicians have developed a balance chiropractic therapy (BCT) to treat CSR, which has been clinically examined for more than 50 years to effectively cure CSR. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the therapeutic effect and safety of BCT on CSR and to investigate the mechanism by which the efficacy is achieved. METHODS/DESIGN We propose a multicenter, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of BCT for CSR. Participants aged 18 to 65 years, who are in conformity with the diagnostic criteria of CSR and whose pain score on a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) is more than 4 points and less than 8 points, will be included and randomly allocated into two groups: a treatment group and a control group. Participants in the treatment group will be treated with BCT, while the control group will receive traction therapy (TT). The primary outcome is pain severity (measured with a VAS). Secondary outcomes will include cervical curvature (measured by the Borden Index), a composite of functional status (measured by the Neck Disability Index, NDI), patient health status (evaluated by the SF-36 health survey) and adverse events (AEs) as reported in the trial. DISCUSSION If BCT can relieve neck pain without adverse effects, it may be a novel strategy for the treatment of CSR. Furthermore, the mechanism of BCT for CSR will be partially elucidated. TRIAL REGISTRATION Clinical Trials.gov Identifier: NCT02705131 . Registered on 9 March 2016.

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