The effect of neural mobilisation on cervicobrachial pain: Design of a randomized controlled trial

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Background: Neck pain is a common musculoskeletal complaint and is often associated with shoulder or arm pain. There is a paucity of information on effective treatment for neck and arm pain, such as radiculopathy or cervico-brachial pain. Guidelines recommend neck mobilisation/ manipulation, exercises and advice as the treatment for neck pain, and neck and arm pain. There are a few studies that have used neural mobilisation as the treatment for cervico-brachial pain. Although results seem promising the studies have small sample sizes that make it difficult to draw definite conclusions. Methods: A randomised controlled trial will be used to establish the effect of neural mobilisation on the pain, function and quality of life of patients with cervico-brachial pain. Patients will be recruited in four physiotherapy private practices and randomly assigned to usual care or usual care plus neural mobilisation. Discussion: In clinical practice neural mobilisations is commonly used for cervico-brachial pain. Although study outcomes seem promising, most studies have small participant numbers. Targeting the neural structures as part of the management plan for a subgroup of patients with nerve mechano-sensitivity seems feasible. Patients with neuropathic pain and psychosocial risk factors such as catastrophising, respond poorly to treatment. Although a recent study found these patients less likely to respond to neural mobilisation, the current study will be able to assess whether neural mobilisation has any added benefit compared to usual care. The study will contribute to the knowledge base of treatment of patients with cervico-brachial pain. The findings of the study will be published in an appropriate journal.




Basson, C. A., Stewart, A., & Mudzi, W. (2014). The effect of neural mobilisation on cervicobrachial pain: Design of a randomized controlled trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 15(1).

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