Efstathiou, M. & Stefanakis, M.
Department of Life & Health Sciences, Physiotherapy, University of Nicosia
Lumbosacral radiculitis is characterised by increased mechanosensitivity of the lumbar and/or sciatic nerve root or roots and is the most common type of neuropathic pain. Some of the major causes include mechanical compression and inflammation of the nerve root. Mechanical compression can result from herniated discs, space-occupying lesions and spinal stenosis. Chemical irritation of the nerve root can result from substances contained in the herniated disc material. Patients’ symptoms include paraesthesia, allodynia, hyperalgesia and shooting lancinating pain like an electric shock. Neural mobilization techniques are used in order to decrease mechanical sensitization of the affected nerve root through mobilizing techniques such as sliders and tensioners and other techniques that target the nerve’s surrounding tissues. The effectiveness of these techniques has been investigated in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and cervical radiculitis. In addition, animal and cadaver studies have shown decreases in intraneural edema and symptoms of allodynia as well as increases in nerve mobility. This review discusses: 1) the pathophysiology of labosacral radiculitis, 2) mechanisms that cause patients’ symptoms, 3) main findings from patients’ history and physical examination and 4) results on the effectiveness of neural mobilization techniques from cadaveric, animal and human studies.
Keywords: neurodynamic techniques, neural mobilization techniques, sciatica, lumbar, radiculopathy