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Z Rheumatol. 2018 Aug 15. doi: 10.1007/s00393-018-0521-7. [Epub ahead of print]

A brief report on the clinical trial on neural mobilization exercise for joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
2
Cluster of Health and Social Sciences, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore, Singapore.
3
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong. christopher.lo@singaporetech.edu.sg.
4
Cluster of Health and Social Sciences, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore, Singapore. christopher.lo@singaporetech.edu.sg.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In rheumatoid arthritis (RA) synovitis, activation of synoviocytes and infiltration of adaptive immune cells leads to synovial hyperplasia and joint swelling. Under the elevated extra-neural pressure, free nerve endings release neuropeptides, calcitonin gene-related peptide, and substance P, thus promoting neurogenic inflammation.

OBJECTIVE:

This study aimed to assess the effect of therapeutic neural mobilization (NM) exercises targeting the nervous system on disease impact in RA patients.

METHODS:

A total of 21 RA patients were randomized into NM (n = 11) and control (n = 10) groups. NM group patients performed NM exercises targeting the median, musculocutaneous, femoral, and saphenous nerve, as well as the entire nervous system twice daily for 4-8 weeks. Control RA patients performed gentle joint mobilization exercises targeting the same joints. Primary outcome was the change in pre-/post-treatment score in the validated Rheumatoid Arthritis Impact of Disease (RAID). Secondary outcome was erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences between the groups at baseline. No adverse events were observed and compliance was over 90%. Post-treatment, favorable changes were observed in the NM group RAID score: -5.1 vs. -0.8; weighted RAID score: -0.79 vs. -0.15. ESR was reduced in the NM group, albeit non-significantly. Regarding the RAID score domains, the NM group demonstrated significant improvements in pain and coping.

CONCLUSION:

The current data indicate a beneficial effect of NM exercises on pain and self-efficacy in our RA patients. Larger clinical studies are warranted to determine the clinical effectiveness of NM as a treatment for pain for RA patients and simultaneously address immune and neuropeptide modulation through NM.

KEYWORDS:

Autoimmune diseases; Blood sedimentation; Nervous system; Physiotherapy; Questionnaires

PMID:
30112581
DOI:
10.1007/s00393-018-0521-7

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