Neural Mobilization in Low Back & Radicular Pain

Neural Mobilization in Low Back & Radicular Pain

Neural Mobilization in Low Back & Radicular Pain

Low Back and Radicular Pain (LBRP) is a common type of low back pain which is caused by compression, irritation, or other pathology of one or more lumbosacral nerve roots. Lumbar disc herniation is thought to be the most common cause of LBRP, although it may also be caused by other abnormalities, such as osteophytes and spondylolisthesis. The condition is often very debilitating, and outcomes are frequently poor (ex. severe and persistent pain, and long periods of disability and absence from work).

Symptoms of LBRP typically comprise lower back pain that radiates into the leg following a dermatomal distribution of the involved spinal nerve root. Additional symptoms/signs may include paresthesia, weakness, and diminished ankle and/or knee reflexes. There is no gold standard test for the diagnosis of LBRP; thus, a diagnosis is reached based on a combination of imaging studies, review of the patient’s symptoms, and physical examination.

LBRP patients frequently receive conservative care including interventions such as exercise, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and tissue mobilization techniques (ex. spinal mobilization and neural mobilization [NM]). Neural mobilization involves applying mechanical forces to nerves in an effort to restore healthy movement within the nerve bed.

A previous (2014) literature review reported that there was insufficient literature, and which was of low-quality, to determine whether NM was effective in treating lumbar radiculopathy. Therefore, the objective of this current systematic review was to evaluate the effectiveness of NM interventions in improving pain, disability, and function specifically in adults with LBRP.

RESEARCH REVIEW: Neural Mobilization in Low Back & Radicular Pain

This paper was published in the Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy (2023) .

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