Comparison of Hypoalgesic Effects of Neural Stretching vs Neural Gliding: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Nov-Dec 2015;38(9):644-652. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2015.09.002. Epub 2015 Oct 23.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the immediate mechanical hypoalgesic effect of neural mobilization in asymptomatic subjects. We also compared neural gliding vs neural stretching to see which produced greater hypoalgesic effects in asymptomatic subjects.

Methods: Forty-five asymptomatic subjects (20 men and 25 women; mean ± SD age, 20.8 ± 2.83 years) were randomly allocated into 3 groups: the neural glide group, the neural stretch group, and the placebo group. Each subject received 1 treatment session. Outcome measures included bilateral pressure pain threshold measured at the trigeminal, cervical, and tibialis anterior points, assessed pre-treatment and immediately post-treatment by a blinded assessor. Three-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to evaluate changes in pressure pain threshold, with group (experimental or control) as the between-subjects variable and time (pre-, post-treatment) or side (dominant, nondominant) as the within-subjects variable.

Results: Group differences were identified between neural mobilization groups and the placebo group. Changes occurred in all of the pressure pain threshold measures for neural gliding, and in all but the trigeminal point for neural stretch. No changes in the pressure pain threshold measures occurred in the placebo group.

Conclusions: This research provides new experimental evidence that neural mobilization produces an immediate widespread hypoalgesic effect vs placebo but neural gliding produces hypoalgesic effects in more body sites than neural stretching.

Keywords: Manual Therapy; Nociception; Pain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Nervous System
  • Nociception / physiology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Young Adult