CLINICAL FEATURES: A patient with arm pain and numbness was referred by a neurosurgeon for nonsurgical consult. He had a large C5-6 disk herniation with no signs or symptoms of myelopathy. He was determined to be a candidate for nonsurgical intervention, including manipulation. Manipulative treatment was planned for the second visit.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Ten days after the initial visit, and before any manipulative treatment being rendered, the patient developed symptoms suggestive of myelopathy, which were later determined on examination to be related to acute myelopathy secondary to the disk herniation.
CONCLUSION: Herniated disk in the cervical spine can progress to myelopathy as part of the natural history of this condition. Because of this, any interpretation of myelopathy that occurs after cervical manipulation, or any other procedure, must be made with caution.
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