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• Nerve anatomy and physiology
• Clinical biomechanics of nerve
• Pathomechanics(pathophysiological and
• Principles of neural mobilization
• Evidence on all NTT
• Concept of continuous tissue tract
1. Both CNS and PNS need to be considered as one since
they form a continuous tissue tract
2. This system is continuous in three ways
• The connective tissue is continuous although different
in format (epineurium , duramater). A single axon is
associated with number of connective tissues.
• Neurones are interconnected both electrically and
The Nervous system
• Includes all the neural tissue in the body
-- cells that send and receive signals
• Neuroglia (glial cells)
-- cells that support and protect neurons
Central Nervous System
• Nerve roots are considered to be more a part of central
than peripheral nervous system which include meninges
, lack schwann cells & receive nutrition from CSF.
• The connective tissue of the nerve trunks are very diff
from those of the roots even though the same axon is
present in the ventral roots.
• Many authors have drawn attention to the fact that the
connective tissue coverings in nerve roots are much
weaker, or not present at all(Murphy 1977).
• Gamble(1964) conducted an electron microscopy study &
found the connective tissue of the nerve roots were
more like leptomeninges(arachnoid &Piamatter) than
that of peripheral trunk.
• Watanabe (1985) using an electron microscope found
that each rootlet has a pial layer and it resembled a
wispy sheet of gauge.
• There are a no. features at the nerve root level for
• The fourth, fifth, sixth cervical spinal nerves has a strong
attachment to the gutter of respective transverse
• At segmental level dural & epidural tissues form a
connective tissue sheath which include epidural
sheath(Dommisse & Hause et al ).
Beyond the dorsal root ganglion this sheath forms
the epineurium & perineurium. These attachments are
not immediate as there is no mechanical equivalent to
perineurium in nerve rots.
The epidural tissues and the dura combine to form
epineuriuma and the outer layer of perineurium where
as the endoneurium is the continuation of the
pia(Sunderland 1974, Hanse et al 1985)
• The dural sleeve forms a plugging mechanism which
helps in preventing the nerve root being pulled away
from foramina but also distributes force.
• Nerve roots have their own inbuilt mechanism for
nutrition and protection. CSF does both the activities
(Rydevik et al).
• The neuraxis (spinal cord ) is the continuation of medulla
oblangata and extends app to L2 vertebral level and it
tapers to form conus medullaris.
• Breig(1978) notes two methods of neuraxial adaptation
Unfolding and untwisting as axons straighten
Movements in relation to neighbouring vertebral
o Pia & Arachnoid mater :
• These are very delicate membranes far more than
duramater. A mesh or lattice of collagen fibres make up
the pia and arachnoid maters.
• This allows stretch & some compression without kinking
(Breig 1978) and they protect the neural elements and
allowing the movements at the same time.
o CSF, Sub arachnoid &Subdural spaces :
• The subarachnoid space contain CSF .
• It acts as a hydraulic cushion surrounding the cord and
o Dura mater
• Outermost layer meningeal layer & by far the toughest
and the strongest which contains collagen and some
elastin fibres arranged longitudinally (Tinturi).
• This gives the dural theca greater axial strength (Haupt
• Definition : Clinical neurodynamics is essentially the
clinical application of mechanics and physiology of the
nervous system as they relate to each other and are
integrated with musculoskeletal system.
• General layout of the system :
Mechanical interface : It is defined as that tissue or
material adjacent to the nervous system that can move
independently to the system.
• Neural structures
• Innervated tissues
The first is that they provide the basis for some causal
mechanisms that therapists should pay particular
The second reason is for making specific reference to
the innervated tissues is that they provide the therapists
with the opportunity to move nerves.
The third reason is for the treatment basis(Laban et al
• Tension :
The first primary mechanical events in the nervous
system is generation of tension.
Since the nervous system is attached to each end of the
neural container the nerves are lengthened by
Perineurium : This is the primary guardian against excessive
tension and is effectively cabling in the peripheral
• Dense packed connective tissue and forming each
fascicle this possess considerable longitudinal and
• It allows peripheral nerve to withstand approx. 18-22 %
strain before failure(Sunderland 1991).
Sliding of nerves : The second event is movement of
nervous system relative to their adjacent tissues.This is
called excursion or sliding(Wilgis &Murphy 1986).
It is of longitudinal and transverse .
• Longitudinal sliding :The sliding of nerves down the
tension gradient enables them to lend their tissue
toward the part at which elongation is initiated.
• This way tension is distributed along the nervous system.
• For eg. Median nerve at elbow
• Transverse sliding: It occurs in two ways –
The first is to enable the nerve to take the shortest
course between two points when tension is applied.
The second means by side way pressure by
neighbouring structures such as muscle and tendons.
Sliding of peripheral nerve in the nerve bed is
provided by mesoneurium and internal sliding of the
• Compression : Neural structures can change their shape
when pressure is exerted on them.
• A clinical example ulnar nerve in elbow flexion .
• The epineurium is the padding of the nerve and it
protects the axons from excessive compression.
• It contains finer and less densely packed connective
which gives them spongy qualities and enables the nerve
to spring back when pressure is removed.
How nerves move
Movement of joints :
Convergence –The nerves move in the direction of the joint
because that is where elongation is initiated. The effects
of the two ends produce little or no movement of the
nerves relative to joint roughly at the midpoint.
convergence ocurs in limbs (Smith&Swash
1976) and spine at most mobile segments(C5-6,C4-5)
during sagittal movements(Adams&Logue1982).
• Nerve bending:
The bending of the nerural structure around
the interface is a good example of the combining of
fundamental events to produce a more complex action.
Ex: Ulnar nerve at elbow
• Movement of innervated tissues:
In addition to longitudinal forces being applied to
the nervous system from the adjacent to the nerve, the
innervated tissues can be used to produce such events.
For instance Dorsiflexion of foot and toes used to apply
tension on sciatic nerve.
• Intraneural blood flow:
Blood flow of the peripheral nerves is actually
maintained by nerves(nervi vasa nervorum)(Bove&Light
Nocioceptors and sympathetic fibres are
relevant because in addition to potentially causing pain
they release substance P and calcium gene related
peptide from their terminals into the walls of the blood
vessels(Zochodne & Ho 1991).
• Maintanence of blood flow during movement:
During normal movement, nerve blood
flow is preserved through an intricate system of vessels
that distort the nerve.
At rest, vessels are coiled and during
movement they become uncoiled rather than
stretched(Sunderland & Lundborg 1998).
Flexion and extension
• Mechanical interface- Spinal canal
Flexion of the whole spine causes elongation of the
spinal neural structures because they, and their canal are
located behind the axis of rotation of the spinal segments.
• Neural tissues
Tension and strain are the two responses for flexion.
The amount of tension is not clearly known but strain from
lumbar extension to flexion in lumbar dura can reach
30%, sacral nerve roots 16%(Adams&Logue; Yuan et al 1988).
• Sliding and convergence
Sliding of neural structures is complex in spine
and specific sequences of movements their own sliding.
for eg. Neck flexion produces cephalad sliding
of neural structures in lumbar region(Breig 1978).
However SLR produces caudad sliding of the nerve roots
in the lumbasacral foraminae(Goddard & Reid; Breig
Lateral flexion and lateral glide
• Mechanical interface
The key event with lateral flexion in relation to
mechanical interface is that the intervertebral foraminae
close down ipsilateral side and open on the contralateral
side(Fujiwara et al 2001).
• Neural effects
Lateral flexion produces increased tension in the
neural structures on the convex side of the spine and
reduce tension on the concave side(Selvaratnam et al
Increase in tension occurs in two ways :
The first is that lateral flexion itself produces
elongation of the interface and neural tissues on the
The second is by causing an increase in
distance between the spine and the periphery by
sideway translation of the vertebrae(Louis 1981).
1. Structural differentiation.
• Reduced closing
Key behavioural aspect is symptoms increase with closing
1. Posture :
In acute and severe dysfunctions a protective deformity is
frequently apparent. This deformity is always in the opening
direction so as to reduce pressure on the adjacent neural structure
• Excessive closing
• Provoked by closing mechanism.
• Hypermobility, instability or habitual closing exist.
Eg. Hyperlordotic lumbar spine.
• Habitual posture or posture imperfection is common.
• Sometimes a history of trauma and features of instability also
• Reduced opening
• Usually aches and pains in the localized area with or without
• Opening movements provoke pain and are usually restricted.
• Usually history of trauma exists in which patient has been forced
into opening positions.
• The body then compensated during healing process to produce
inflammation and muscular bracing such that opening movements
are reduced to avoid further provocation.
• Eg. Spine
• Physical findings:
The reduced opening dysfunction produce a protective
deformity on the ipsilateral side unlike closing type has on
This deformity is specially designed to reduce tension in the
interfacing and neural tissues.
• Palpation :
Tenderness, muscle tightness and thickening.
Eg. L4-S1 segments may be accompanied by tenderness and
tightness of ipsilateral erector spinae as they limit contralateral
• Excessive opening
• Aches and pains and can produce referred pain.
• Pins and needles ,numbness can occur in this dysfuction.
• Symptoms are intermittent and they are produces when provoking
movements are done .
• No deformity occurs in this type.
• Opening movements are increased and that leads to this disorder.
• Ex. Cervical region contralateral flexion and rotation.
• Palpation :
Tenderness over specific sites is often present.
Hypermobilty produces mechanical irritation of
the relevant structures.
• What to observe – changes in movement, movement
• Planning the examination.
• Level 0 – neurodynamic testing contraindicated.
Any contraindication for manual therapy generally exists for
• Level 1 – limited examination
1.When symptoms are easily provoked and takes long time to settle
2. In cases of severe pain.
3. Presence of any neurological deficit.
4.When problems shows a progressive worsening after physical
Level 2- Standard examination
Indications and contraindications:
• The problem is not especially easily provoked and symptoms are
• Neurological symptoms are absent.
• When pain is not severe at the time of examination.
unstable, hypersensitive, irritable or when pathology is present
• Higher level of examination:
Indications and contraindications:
1. The level 2 testing is normal and didn't reveal sufficient
2. Symptoms are stable and not easily provoked.
3. When there is no pathology that might adversely affect the
4. Contraindications same as level 2.
• General points on technique:
Explanation to patient
Test the unaffected side first
Maintain each movement precisely
Be gentle and donot hurry
Evoke versus Provoke
Short duration of testing.
Standard neurodynamic testing
• Slump test
• Straight leg raise
• Prone knee bend
This is used to evaluate the dynamics of neural
structures of the central and peripheral nervous system from the
head, along the spinal cord, sciatic nerve tract and its extensions.
Headache, pain anywhere in the spine,pelvis and the lower
Pt sits with posterior aspect of their against the couch with
their thighs lying parallel. The parallel placement of thighs is for
internal consistency(differences in pelvic size of male and female)
• Level 1: Neurodynamic sequencing
If the patient sits without provocation of
symptoms, they adapt the starting position of the slump. However
if they cannot sit altering the position is necessary.
In this level thoracic and lumbar flexion is avoided.
Instead neck passive flexion and straight leg raise is used.
Stage 2 :
neck flexion is performed by the patient while the
therapist supports patient forehead to prevent rapid descent of
Stage 3 :
Dorsiflexion may be performed passively and is
followed by passive knee extension.
• Level 3a(neurodynamically sensitized)
The level 3a position of the slump test incorporates
additional sensitizing manoeuvres of medial rotation and adduction
of hip, dorsiflexion of ankle and contralateral flexion of spine.
The SLR is used to test the movement and mechanical
sensitivity of the lumbosacral neural structures and their distal
It is generally applied in cases of pain and other symptoms in
the posterior and lateral aspect of the lower quarter but its use can
be warranted in examination of the thoracic spine.
• Preparation :
Pt in supine lying with the body aligned symmetrically .In it
purest form the test is performed without a pillow.
• Structural differentiation
proximal symptoms : use dorsiflexion
Distal symptoms: hip flexion produces distal symptoms
so further differentiation is required.
Active cervical flexion : not required
• Normal response:
The normal response to the SLR is pulling and
stretching in the posterior thigh that spreads into the
posterior knee and sometimes upper third of calf(Lew&
• Level 1 :
Technique: Pt is in supine lying with straight knee if
possible .Passive dorsiflexion is performed and the limb is
raised slowly to the first onset of symptoms.
• Level 3a
Technique : the straight leg is raised to the first point of
symptoms, then internal rotation and adduction are
performed and dorsiflexion is added at the end.
• Mechanical interface
Not to provoke symptoms.
Initially performed as atrail for 30-60
• Neural components
sliders : One ended