OBJECTIVE: To verify the effectiveness of neural mobilization and static stretching in reducing pain in rats submitted to experimental sciatica. METHODS: The rats (n=23) were divided into three groups: sham (SG/n=8), without intervention; stretching (STCG/n=8), treated with static stretching; and neural mobilization (NMG/n=7), treated with neural mobilization. The animals underwent an experimental model of sciatica by compression of the right ischiatic nerve with catgut suture thread. There were five consecutive sessions of treatment that began on the third day after lesion. The pain caused by the sciatica was evaluated by a functional incapacitation test that measured paw elevation time (PET), and values over 10s were indicative of pain. PET was measured at the following moments: before the lesion (M1), immediately before (M2) and after the first session (M3), immediately after the last session (M4) and 24h after the last session (M5). ANOVA was applied with repeated measures and unrepeated measures for intra- and inter-group comparison, respectively. RESULTS: In the SG, post-lesion PETs were greater than M1 (p<0.001), suggesting persistence of pain. In the STCG, post-lesion PETs were greater than M1 (p<0.001), but lower when comparing M3 vs. M4 (p<0.05) and M3 vs. M5 (p<0.01) suggesting the effectiveness of the treatment. In NMG, M2, M3 (p<0.001) and M4 (p<0.05) were greater in relation to M1, but not M5, showing that this treatment reestablished the normal PET values. CONCLUSION: Both forms of therapy were effective in reducing pain, with neural mobilization being the more effective of the two.
sciatica; physical therapy modalities; neuralgia