Background: Lumbar radiculopathy is the result of a multitude of biomechanical and musculoskeletal factors. Symptoms usually range from central pain in the lumbar region to the ipsilateral buttock, but can also travel down the leg. The pain is usually described with numbness and tingling along with weakness on that same side. Treatment of this condition can range from being very simple if symptoms are mild to moderate to extremely difficult if symptoms are persistent and severe. It is extremely critical to be able to determine the type of intervention a patient will find most beneficial to alleviate their symptoms and achieve a more functional lifestyle.
Purpose: The purpose of this literature review is to discuss the effectiveness of conventional therapy approaches (therapeutic exercise/manual therapy/physical agents) versus neuromobilizations in patients with severe, chronic lumbar radiculopathy.
Case Description: The patient is a 47 y/o female referred to PT with a diagnosis of lumbar radiculopathy, L4 disk herniation, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The patient has been suffering with her symptoms consistently for about 14 years after she fell down a flight of stairs. Prior PT treatment exacerbated her symptoms, with patient-reported interventions of therapeutic exercise and TENS units. Neuromobilization was not attempted at any time during her prior bouts of therapy.
Outcomes: Overall, nerve mobilization seems to be beneficial when used as an adjunct to other forms of intervention like therapeutic, physical agents, and manual therapy.
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
Jodi Schilz, PhD
Lumbar Radiculopathy, Neuromobilization, physical therapy, nerve mobilization, low back pain, sciatica
Martinez, Juan A. Jr.. "Neuromobilization vs. Conventional Physical Therapy for Lumbar Radiculopathy." (2018). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/dpt/143