A comparative study of rehabilitation therapy in traumatic upper limb peripheral nerve injuries

NeuroRehabilitation. 2018;42(1):113-119. doi: 10.3233/NRE-172220.


Introduction: Lower motor neurons are the only neurons of the central nervous system (CNS) with the ability to regenerate without any intervention after an axotomy.

Aim: This present study was conducted to analyze clinical and electrophysiological parameters in four groups of upper limb peripheral neuropathies, before and after treatment, comparing the results obtained after three cures of complex rehabilitation therapy.

Materials and methods: We selected a number of 107 patients (66 women and 41 men) aged between 29 and 77 years (mean age = 49.6). Clinical (muscular strength, sensitivity) and electrophysiological parameters (accommodation coefficient α, nerve conduction velocity) were analyzed. All patients received 3 comprehensive treatment cures, each cure of 14 days and a rest period of 3 months between the cures.

Results: From the total of 107 patients included in the study, 52 were diagnosed with brachial plexus palsy, 27 with radial nerve palsy, 18 with median nerve palsy and 10 with ulnar nerve palsy. We did not observe a statistically significant difference between the mean age of males (47.2) and females (51.2) (p = 0.07), but peripheral neuropathies were more common in young males. At the end of the rehabilitation treatment all patients achieved better outcomes in muscle strength, sensitivity, adjustment coefficient α and nerve conduction velocity (p < 0.001).CONCLUSIONThe intervention of a physical therapy program in patients with peripheral neuropathies provided significantly better outcomes in clinical and electrophysiological parameters. Our rehabilitation protocol can be considered an alternative in order to stimulate and accelerate the nerve regeneration process.

Keywords: Motor neurons; muscle strength; nerve conduction velocity; sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiopathology
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Upper Extremity / innervation
  • Upper Extremity / physiopathology