Singapore Institute of Technology

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

journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-10, 10:51 authored by Yan Nok Lau, Joseph Ng, Shan Yee Lee, Lam Chin Li, Cheuk Man Kwan, Sin Ming Fan, Pui Lam Bernard LeungPui Lam Bernard Leung, Chi Ngai Lo
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.


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Zeitschrift für Rheumatologie

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