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Cervical Spine Manual Therapy for Aging and Older Adults

Tudini, Frank PT, DScPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT; Chui, Kevin PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT; Grimes, Jason PT, MPT, OCS, ATC; Laufer, Rachel PT, DPT; Kim, Sean PT, DPT; Yen, Sheng-Che PT, PhD; Vaughan, Victor PT, DPT, MS, OCS, ATC

Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation: April/June 2016 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 88–105
doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000075
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Neck pain is a common problem in aging and older adults. This narrative review synthesizes recent literature on manual therapy to the cervical spine and adjacent regions. Emphasis has been placed on summarizing high-quality randomized clinical trials, systematic reviews with a narrative synthesis or meta-analysis, and clinical practice guidelines. The synthesis suggests that although there is limited high-quality evidence, a multimodal approach including manual therapy and exercise seems safe and effective, especially in the short term, for improving outcomes in aging and older adults with neck pain. The results for cervicogenic dizziness and headache were too varied to arrive at a firm conclusion. Additional research using consistent outcome measures is needed to establish the optimal manual therapy techniques and parameters for these common cervical conditions.

Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science (Dr Tudini, Dr Chui, Mr Grimes, Dr Laufer, Dr Kim, and Dr Vaughan), Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut; and Department of Physical Therapy (Dr Yen), Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Correspondence: Frank Tudini, PT, DScPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science, Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, CT 06825 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.