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Hands-on Therapy Safer than Medications

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

The bottom line is that spine manipulation by a physical therapist, in comparison to other medical treatments including medications, injections, and surgery is a safer treatment.

According to a 2017 Study of Pain:

  • 25% of people that regularly take medications like Advil or Aleve - called NSAIDs - will develop a stomach ulcer

  • Up to 4% of those people will end up with a perforated or bleeding ulcer

  • Up to 30% of people with a perforated ulcer will die within 90 days

So - if you start with 1000 people chronically using these NSAID medications:

  • 250 will develop a stomach ulcer

  • Of these, 10 will bleed or perforate

  • Of these 3 will die

Compared to this type of medication, other studies have shown the safety of hands on spinal manipulation by physical therapists

  • Spinal manipulation is 37,000 to 148,000 times safer than NSAIDs for the treatment of low back herniated disc

  • Neck Manipulation does not cause problems - unlike NSAID medications - no one died. There were only normal, temporary, increases in neck pain or headache in 16% of the people treated with neck manipulation


Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee. Visit for more information. You can call the Hebron office at 860-228-4883 or send an email to You can call the Colchester office at 860-537-3014 or send an email to

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