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Manual therapy as a management of cervical radiculopathy: a systematic review
Borrella-Andres S, Marques-Garcia I, Lucha-Lopez MO, Fanlo-Mazas P, Hernandez-Secorun M, Perez-Bellmunt A, Tricas-Moreno JM, Hidalgo-Garcia C
BioMed Research International 2021;(9936981):Epub
systematic review

BACKGROUND: Cervical radiculopathy is defined as a disorder involving dysfunction of the cervical nerve roots characterised by pain radiating and/or loss of motor and sensory function towards the root affected. There is no consensus on a good definition of the term. In addition, the evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual therapy in radiculopathy is contradictory. OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of manual therapy in improving pain, functional capacity, and range of motion in treating cervical radiculopathy with and without confirmation of altered nerve conduction. METHODS: Systematic review of randomised clinical trials on cervical radiculopathy and manual therapy, in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, PEDro, and Cochrane Library Plus databases. The PRISMA checklist was followed. Methodological quality was evaluated using the PEDro scale and RoB 2.0. tool. RESULTS: 17 clinical trials published in the past 10 years were selected. Manual therapy was effective in the treatment of symptoms related to cervical radiculopathy in all studies, regardless of the type of technique and dose applied. CONCLUSIONS: This systematic review did not establish which manual therapy techniques are the most effective for cervical radiculopathy with electrophysiological confirmation of altered nerve conduction. Without this confirmation, the application of manual therapy, regardless of the protocol applied and the manual therapy technique selected, appears to be effective in reducing chronic cervical pain and decreasing the index of cervical disability in cervical radiculopathy in the short term. However, it would be necessary to agree on a definition and diagnostic criteria of radiculopathy, as well as the definition and standardisation of manual techniques, to analyse the effectiveness of manual therapy in cervical radiculopathy in depth.

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