CF 051: Necks, Integrity of the Cervical Spine, and the CDC on Opioids - chiropracticforward CF 051: Necks, Integrity of the Cervical Spine, and the CDC on Opioids - chiropracticforward

CF 051: Necks, Integrity of the Cervical Spine, and the CDC on Opioids

CF 051: Necks, Integrity of the Cervical Spine, and the CDC on Opioids

Today we’re going to talk about the reliability of clinical tests assessing the cervical spine, what is happening when adjusting a neck as far as the integrity of the cervical spine, and what the CDC says about opioids. It’s all fascinating all the time here at the Chiropractic Forward Podcast 

But first, here’s that bumper music

Integrating Chiropractors

OK, we are back. Welcome to the podcast today, I’m Dr. Jeff Williams and I’m your host for the Chiropractic Forward podcast.  

You have drifted all slow and gently into Episode #51


As has become the tradition, let’s talk a bit about the DACO program. DACO stands for Diplomate of American Chiropractic Orthopedist. Trudging along. I’m up to I believe 84 of the required 300. Classes this last week were on frozen shoulder, piriformis syndrome, Important aspects of lumbar MRI, and inguinal pain. 

This stuff is just invaluable, folks. I’m an organizational freak but at the end of each course, I’ll make myself a quick sheet that I can reference when something like that comes through the door. I think making these little quick sheets will really help to get some of the more rare or difficult cases figured out quickly. 

I’ve already put the lumbar differential diagnosis sheet to use a few times as well as the dizziness quick sheet I created. I have shared several times here that I don’t sit around a lot either at work or at home. I’m a busy bee. 

Vacation & Hobbies

Going on vacation, don’t even try to take me to a beach. If my wife wants to go to the beach, that’s all her. I’ll tag along and I’ll check in on her out there reading a book from time to time but, for the most part, I’ll be off doing, seeing, and experiencing. The ability to sit still and just relax…..that’s an ability I did not receive in this lifetime. 

As a result, I make live edge furniture. Go to Facebook and look up Amarillo live edge and custom furniture. I am a sculpture and charcoal artist. Go back to Facebook now and look up River Horse Art Gallery. I’m in the process of teaching myself to paint right now too. I also am a singer/songwriter. Go back to Facebook once again. Yes, once again and look up Flying Elbows Perspective.

Crazy name indeed. 

So, here’s the point. It’s not to brag or pump my tires. The point is that this is how important I’ve found the DACO program to be. While I haven’t completely put everything else on hold, the DACO has taken priority of my time. One reason is that I want to motor through it quickly and efficiently. The next reason would be that I’ll be the only DACO in all of Texas West of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. 

What does that get me? Maybe a pat on the back. Maybe a part time or full-time gig on staff at an FQHC. As we have mentioned in previous episodes, there are reports of DCs on FQHC staffs making as little as $120/visit up to $300/visit on even Medicaid visits. Unbelievable. But you have a better shot at getting into the system when you are specialized AKA – a Diplomate. 

Just a part of making us all better. You guys and gals need to be looking at this stuff. 

Before we hop into the papers for the week, I want to ask you to go to and sign up for our newsletter. I think I have some pretty cool stuff coming down the pike you’ll be interested in. That’s in you enjoy evidence-based education.

Now, here we go with some vital information that we think can build confidence and improve your practice which will improve your life overall.

Paper #1

The first paper here is called “Reliability and validity of clinical tests to assess the anatomical integrity of the cervical spine in adults with neck pain and its associated disorders: Part 1—A systematic review from the Cervical Assessment and Diagnosis Research Evaluation (CADRE) Collaboration” It was done my Madege Lemurnier et. al. and published in the European Spine Journal in September 2017[1]. 

Why They Did It

With a title as long as that one, what the heck are they doing here? They say they were hoping to determine the reliability of clinical tests to assess the anatomical integrity of the cervical spine in adults with neck pain and its associated disorders. 

How They Did It

They updated the systematic review of the 2000-2010 Bone and Joint Decade Task Forst on Neck Pain and Associated Disorders. 

They searched the literature for studies on the reliability and validity of Doppler velocimetry to evaluate the cervical arteries. 

They had two independent evaluators look through it all

What They Found

  • Preliminary evidence showed that the extension-rotation test may be reliable and has adequate validity to rule out pain arising from facet joint. Or rule in I suppose. Just in case you are unaware of the cervical extension-rotation test, it’s exactly as it sounds. Have the patient extend and then rotate toward the side you’re testing. When you combine this maneuver with palpation you can typically get a good idea of whether the patient is suffering from a facet issue. You need to know that this test is also effective in sniffing out a low back facet issue as well. Lumbar extension and then rotation can give you some good clues sometimes.
  • The evidence suggests variable reliability and preliminary validity for the evaluation of cervical radiculopathy including neurological examination (manual motor testing, dermatomal sensory testing, deep tendon reflexes, and pathological reflex testing), Spurling’s and the upper limb neurodynamic tests.
  • No evidence found for doppler velocimetry. 

Wrap It Up

Little evidence exists to support the use of clinical tests to evaluate the anatomical integrity of the cervical spine in adults with neck pain and its associated disorders. We found preliminary evidence to support the use of the extension–rotation test, neurological examination, Spurling’s and the upper limb neurodynamic tests.


On to our second paper. This one is called “Intervertebral kinematics of the cervical spine before, during, and after high-velocity low-amplitude manipulation” and appeared in Spine Journal in August of 2018 and was authored by Dr. William J. Anderst, et. al[2].

Why They Did It

Since cervical manipulation is such a common intervention for neck pain, the authors wanted to characterize the forces involved and the facet gapping that takes place during manipulation. 

How They Did It

It was a laboratory-based prospective observational study

It included 12 patients 

Each patient had acute mechanical neck pain

One of the outcome measurements was the neck pain rating scale (NPRS)

Other measurements were taken for amount and rate of cervical facet joint gapping 

What They Found

The authors concluded, “This study is the first to measure facet gapping during cervical manipulation on live humans. The results demonstrate that target and adjacent motion segments undergo facet joint gapping during manipulation and that intervertebral ROM is increased in all three planes of motion after manipulation. The results suggest that clinical and functional improvement after manipulation may occur as a result of small increases in intervertebral ROM across multiple motion segments.”

Pretty cool stuff. 

Paper #3

Our last paper for this episode is called, “CDC: Drug overdoses hit new record.” It’s an article on written by Nathaniel Weixel and was published on August 15th of this year, 2018[3]. 

The article leads off saying that 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017 and that’s based on information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a new record folks and we have our friends in the medical realm to thank for it. 

Who’s To Blame?

Now, that, of course, doesn’t mean pharmacists and medical doctors are bad and there was a mass conspiracy to cause this deal. But it does mean that SOME of them are bad. SOME doctors are doing time in an orange outfit right now because they knew better but the dollar was mightier than common sense and common decency. 

There were pharmacies dispensing 100x more than their population could ever consume but they want to not refer to us and talk about the integrity of the cervical spine. That kind of crap is what got us here.

But, it’s also what has brought chiropractors from the shadows into the light. When you have the mess the medical field has created, then you have to start looking for the non-pharma solutions and we are it. 


72,000 deaths. You ever heard of the Vietnam War? Of course, you have. We all have. Some either remember or have seen what a big deal it was. The deaths, the protests, the loss. I’ve been to the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC several times. It’s profound. It’s stunning to see all of those names. 

Just to compare, the total number of those lost in Vietnam stands at 58,220. Now keep in mind, that takes into account deaths from as early as 1956 all the way up to as late as 2006 and comes from Defense Casualty Analysis System Extract Files from The Vietnam Conflict Extract Data File. 

I did my homework. I’m not giving you fake numbers here. 

Essentially, 13,780 more deaths happened because of opioids, In just one year. In just 2017. That doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface when you start totaling up 2016, 2015, and further back. Unbelievable isn’t it? 

If we look at it, 2014 had 28,647 deaths, 2015 had 33,100 deaths, 2016 saw 63,632 deaths…..and then 72,000 in 2017. 

I’m guessing you can see the trend. Hell yes, it’s an epidemic.

The Math

I’ll do the math for you because I love you and I’m glad you’re here and I don’t want you to have to think too hard while you’re giving me your time. Over the last 4 years, that’s approximately 200,000 opioid-related deaths. 197,379 to be more specific. 

The genie seems to be out of the bottle.

While we can’t put the genie back in, we can offer solutions for the future. Many of those addicted to opioids became addicted due to spinal surgery. Many of those surgeries were unnecessary. One paper I reviewed showed that approximately 5% of lumbar fusions are necessary making about 95% of the unnecessary. Yeah….95%. 

The Answer

We have the answer people. The American College of Physicians, The White House, The Lancet, 2 papers in JAMA, Consumer Report surveys, The Joint Commission, The FDA…..seriously, there is not one reason that we aren’t inundated by spinal pain referrals at this very moment. No reason at all. It actually makes me mad as hell that we are not. 

Exactly what the hell does it take to make general practitioners, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants understand that an evidence-based chiropractor is best situated to help these people as a first-line therapy?

Integrating Chiropractors

The Message

I want you to know with absolute certainty that when Chiropractic is at its best, you can’t beat the risk vs reward ratio because spinal pain is primarily a movement-related pain and typically responds better to movement-related treatment instead of chemical treatments like pills and shots.

When compared to the traditional medical model, research and clinical experience show that many patients get good or excellent results through chiropractic for headaches, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, to name just a few.

Chiropractic care is safe and cost-effective. It can decrease instances of surgery & disability. Chiropractors normally do this through conservative, non-surgical means with minimal time requirements or hassle to the patient. 

And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, chiropractors can likely keep it that way while raising the general, overall level of health of the patient!

Key Point:

Patients should have the guarantee of having the best treatment offering the least harm.

That’s Chiropractic!


Send us an email at dr dot williams at and let us know what you think of our show or tell us your suggestions for future episodes. Feedback and constructive criticism is a blessing and so are subscribes and excellent reviews on iTunes and other podcast services. Y’all know how this works by now so help if you don’t mind taking a few seconds to do so.

Help us get to the top of podcasts in our industry. That’s how we get the message out. 


We can’t wait to connect with you again next week. From the Chiropractic Forward Podcast flight deck, this is Dr. Jeff Williams saying upward, onward, and forward. 


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About the Author and Host:

Dr. Jeff Williams – Chiropractor in Amarillo, TX, Chiropractic Advocate, Author, Entrepreneur, Educator, Businessman, Marketer, and Healthcare Blogger & Vlogger

CF 013: DEBUNKED: The Odd Myth That Chiropractors Cause Strokes (Part 1 of 3)

CF 012: Proven Means To Treat Neck Pain

CF 041: w/ Dr. William Lawson – Research For Neck Pain

CF 050: Chiropractic Care – Text Neck, Headaches, Migraines





1. Lemeunier N, Reliability and validity of clinical tests to assess the anatomical integrity of the cervical spine in adults with neck pain and its associated disorders: Part 1—A systematic review from the Cervical Assessment and Diagnosis Research Evaluation (CADRE) Collaboration. Euro Spine J, 2017. 26(9): p. 2225-2241.

2. Anderst W, Intervertebral kinematics of the cervical spine before, during, and after high-velocity low-amplitude manipulation. Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2018. 0(0).

3. Weixel N. CDC: Drug overdoses hit new record. The Hill 2018  5 August 2018]; Available from:



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