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Effects of Neurodynamic Interventions on Pain Sensitivity and Function in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

      Abstract

      Objective

      To assess the effects of adding a neurodynamic intervention into a multimodal management approach in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) with upper extremity pain symptoms.

      Design

      Randomized clinical trial.

      Setting

      Tertiary hospital center.

      Participants

      Thirty-two individuals with MS were randomly assigned to multimodal usual care alone (n = 16) or multimodal usual care plus neurodynamic intervention (n = 16).

      Interventions

      Both groups received 5 sessions of multimodal usual care of 30 minutes duration, twice per week. Subjects allocated to the neurodynamic group also received bilateral neurodynamic slider interventions targeting the upper extremity nerve trunks.

      Outcome measures

      Pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) at the radial, median and ulnar nerve trunks, second metacarpal and tibialis anterior, pain intensity in the upper extremity (NPRS, 0-10), light touch detection threshold (von Frey hairs) and manual dexterity (nine-hole peg test) were assessed before and after the intervention.

      Results

      Subjects receiving the neurodynamic interventions experienced larger improvements in PPTs at all locations (moderate effect size, between-groups differences from 89.5 kPa to 186.5 kPa), a higher decrease in pain intensity at rest (large effect, difference 1.7, 95%CI 0.4 to 3.0) and improvements in sensitivity to light touch (moderate effect, difference -0.7, 95%CI -1.3 to -0.1) and in manual dexterity (large effect, difference 7.7, 95%CI 4.0 to 11.4 seconds) than those that did not receive the neurodynamic intervention.

      Conclusions

      The inclusion of neural mobilization into a multimodal management approach resulted in reduction of pressure sensitivity, greater reduction in pain and improvement in sensitivity to light touch and manual dexterity in MS. Further studies are necessary to confirm these findings at longer term follow-ups.

      Keywords

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