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Eur Spine J. 2011 Mar;20(3):482-90. doi: 10.1007/s00586-010-1632-2. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Outcomes differ between subgroups of patients with low back and leg pain following neural manual therapy: a prospective cohort study.

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Faculty of Social Work and Health, Degree Programmes for Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy & Physiotherapy, HAWK University of Applied Science and Arts, Goschentor 1, 31134 Hildesheim, Germany.


The objective is to determine if pain and disability outcomes of patients treated with neural mobilisation differ for sub-classifications of low back and leg pain (LB&LP). Radiating leg pain is a poor prognostic factor for recovery in patients with LBP. To improve outcome, a new pathomechanism-based classification system was proposed: neuropathic sensitization (NS), denervation (D), peripheral nerve sensitization (PNS) and musculoskeletal (M). Seventy-seven patients with unilateral LB&LP were recruited. Following classification, all subjects were treated seven times with neural mobilisation techniques. A successful outcome was defined as achieving a minimal clinically important change in pain intensity (11-point numerical rating scale), physical function (Roland Morris disability questionnaire) and global perceived change (7-point Likert scale: from 1 = "completely recovered" to 7 = "worse than ever"). The proportion of responders was significantly greater in PNS (55.6%) than the other three groups (NS 10%; D 14.3% and M10%). After adjusting for baseline differences, mean magnitude of improvement of the outcome measures were significantly greater in PNS compared to the other groups. Patients classified as PNS have a more favourable prognosis following neural mobilisation compared to the other groups.

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