Science In Brief

Chiropractic Litterature Review

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The Study:The correlation of radiographic findings and patient symptomatology in cervical degenerative joint disease: a cross-sectional study

The Facts:

  1. The authors note that there is little study on correlation of patient's symptoms to findings of degenerative joint disease on x-rays.
  2. They looked at the cervical x-rays of 322 patients who suffered from neck pain and related symptoms
  3. They did not find a correlation between degenerative joint disease and "pain level, headaches, shoulder referral, hand radiculopathy or numbness."
  4. There was only a small degree of correlation between cervical degenerative joint disease and "shoulder and neck stiffness".
  5. Age was the only thing that was significantly associated with degenerative joint disease.
  6. This study agrees with prior studies which also indicated that there was not a correlation of the degree of degenerative joint disease to the degree of pain.

Take Home:
There is a poor correlation between the severity of the degenerative joint disease and the severity of symptoms in this study.

Reviewer's Comments:
I am not at all surprised, but you may be surprised at my comments. First, if there was a strong association between the degree of degenerative joint disease and the severity of neck pain/symptoms then manipulation wouldn't provide much in the way of relief. The logic here is pretty simple because an average trial of manipulation will not significantly reduce the degree of DJD, and yet, manipulation often provides significant relief to patients with neck pain or neck associated symptoms. Next, as there is not much of an association between neck stiffness and degenerative joint disease it shows me that you can't use range of motion to determine the health of the disc very accurately. Perhaps most importantly it reinforces my thought that it's pretty hard to tell much about the condition of the spine without imaging. To see and understand what's going on inside our patients, we need imaging.

Reviewer: Roger Coleman DC

Editor: Mark R. Payne DC

Reference: Rudy IS, Poulos A, Owen L, batters A, Kieliszek K, Willow J, Jenkins H. The correlation of radiographic findings and patient symptomatology in cervical degenerative joint disease: a cross-sectional study.Chiropr Man therap. 2015 Feb 9;23:9. doi: 10.1186/s12998-015-0052-0. eCollection 2015.

Link to Abstract:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25671078

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