spinal injections

I always want to provide you with nuggets to spark a thought process. If I were to tell you that shots patients are getting in their necks and in their backs for pain do not typically help and when they do, it is short-term only and has no impact on a person's future disability, would you believe me?

What if your doctor told you? Or a highly respected researcher that did the work? Would you believe it then?

Well, the work has been done and that is exactly what they found. 

Now, what if I told you that the same level of researchers found that spinal manipulation (chiropractic) actually helps MORE than the shots. And that spinal manipulation is MUCH safer, non-invasive, non-painful, and less expensive. Wouldn't that matter?

With those thoughts in mind, follow along just a bit here as I show you some short highlights of this research paper. 

Why They Did It

The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of overall improvement, pain reduction, and cost-effectiveness in paired, similar patients with characteristic MRI-confirmed disc herniations in the neck region. The patients were treated with either chiropractic mobilization or injections in the cervical region. 

How They Did It·     

  • The study consisted of 104 patients·     
  • All had herniated discs in the neck region that were confirmed through MRIs.·     
  • 52 patients were treated with injections to the neck region.·     
  • 52 patients treated with chiropractic spinal mobilization.·     
  • The Numeric Rating Scale was used to assess pain levels at baseline, at 3 months after treatment.·     
  • Overall “improvement” was assessed using the Patient Global Impression of Change Scale also at the three-month mark.·     
  • The only responses on the Scale that were accepted as an improvement were “much better” or “better.”·     
  • NRS numbers were compared at baseline and at the 3-month measuring. 

What They Found·     

  • “Improvement” was reported in 86.5% of the patients that underwent the chiropractic spinal manipulative treatment.·     
  • Only 49. 0% of patients that underwent the injections reported improvement.·     
  • Significantly more patients undergoing the injections were in the subacute/chronic category (77%) compared with those patients that were in the spinal manipulative chiropractic treatment group (46%). 

Wrap It Up

Subacute/chronic patients treated with SMT were much more likely to report being improved than were those that had injections. For cases that were considered to be acute, there was no difference. 

Since chiropractic treatment was superior to the spinal injections in subacute/chronic patients, since several research papers have shown the injections to be strictly short-term in nature with zero long-term effect, since they are far more expensive than chiropractic treatment, and since there was no proven superior effect in the acute patients…..WHY WOULD ANYONE EITHER PRESCRIBE OR UNDERGO THE SPINAL INJECTIONS?

Doesn't it make so much more sense to go to your Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Jeff Williams? We think so!

Peterson CK, Symptomatic, Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Confirmed Cervical Disk Herniation Patients: A Comparative-Effectiveness Prospective Observational Study of 2 Age- and Sex-Matched Cohorts Treated With Either Imaging-Guided Indirect Cervical Nerve Root Injections or Spinal Manipulative Therapy. J Manipulative Physiol Ther, 2016. 39(3): p. 210-7.


Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is a Fellowship-trained Neuromusculoskeletal specialist and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast. Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected]


Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109 

Jeff S Williams, DC, FIANM, DABFP

Jeff S Williams, DC, FIANM, DABFP


Contact Me