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The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of overall improvement, pain reduction, and treatment costs in matched patients with symptomatic, magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed cervical disk herniations treated with either spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) or imaging-guided cervical nerve root injection blocks (CNRI).

RESULTS:   “Improvement” was reported in 86.5% of SMT patients and 49.0% of CNRI patients (P = .0001). Significantly more CNRI patients were in the subacute/chronic category (77%) compared with SMT patients (46%). A significant difference between the proportion of subacute/chronic CNRI patients (37.5%) and SMT patients (78.3%) reporting “improvement” was noted (P = .002).

CONCLUSION:   Subacute/chronic patients treated with SMT were significantly more likely to report relevant “improvement” compared with CNRI patients. There was no difference in outcomes when comparing acute patients only.