Clinical effectiveness of manipulation and mobilisation interventions for the treatment of non-specific neck pain: protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Elizabeth Bailey, Nicola R Heneghan, Natasha J Cassidy, Deborah Falla, Alison B Rushton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


INTRODUCTION: Non-specific neck pain (NSNP) is a common musculoskeletal condition resulting in pain, physical limitations and associated functional disability. Current guidelines recommend manipulation and/or mobilisation as part of the multimodal management of NSNP. This study focuses on intervention at the articular level and aims to identify whether joint mobilisation or joint manipulation has a greater effect on function, range of movement or pain outcomes in the management of NSNP.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A systematic review protocol has been designed and is reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols. A targeted search strategy will enable searching of key databases from inception to 31 March 2020: CINAHL, PEDro, AMED, EMBASE, OVID, MEDLINE, Web of Science, PubMed and Google Scholar. Key journals will be searched using predefined keywords determined from preliminary scoping searches for randomised controlled trials of manipulation and mobilisation modalities for adults with NSNP in the absence of radiculopathy or whiplash, published in English. Grey literature and unpublished studies will also be searched. Studies will be screened by title and abstract and full text. Two independent reviewers will conduct the searches independently, extract data, assess risk of bias (Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool 2) and assess overall strength of evidence (Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation). Meta-analysis will be performed where individual studies measure comparable outcomes including performance-based outcome measures such as range of movement or patient reported outcome measures such as Neck Disability Index; and where interventions are comparable in their delivery such as number of oscillations and Maitland grading. Where not possible, data will be presented descriptively.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study does not require ethical approval. Findings will be submitted for publication to relevant peer-reviewed journals and will be presented at profession-specific conferences.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere037783
Number of pages6
JournalBMJ open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.


  • clinical trials
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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