Clinical rehabilitation for brachial plexus injury is difficult in terms of chronic pain and dysfunction. Physiotherapy is considered a routine intervention for rehabilitation. Common physical therapy may require a variety of instruments. One approach that does not need instruments, but belongs to the field of complementary and alternative medicine, is naprapathy. Naprapathy, also called Tuina in China, has been applied in rehabilitation after brachial plexus injury for a long time. Naprapathy can relieve chronic neuropathic pain, promote local blood circulation, and improve body edema. Naprapathy can passively help improve motor functions in patients with peripheral nerve injury. However, the efficacy of naprapathy in improving rehabilitation after brachial plexus injury is unclear.
This study aims to evaluate the additional value of naprapathy when combined with conventional physical therapy for the treatment of brachial plexus injury.
This will be a single-center randomized controlled trial. A total of 116 eligible patients with brachial plexus injury will be randomly divided into an experimental group (naprapathy plus physical therapy group) or a control group (physical therapy group). The participants will be followed up for 4 weeks of treatment. Observation outcomes will include the visual analog scale score, upper limb index, electromyography findings, and adverse reactions, among others. The measuring points for outcomes will be the baseline and the completion of treatment. In addition, a quality control group independent from the research team will be set up to control the quality of the trial. Finally, the data will be analyzed using SPSS software (version 21.0; IBM Corp).
The study is recruiting participants. The first participant was enrolled in September 2021. As of January 2023, a total of 100 participants have been enrolled. The trial is expected to be completed by September 2023. The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Review Committee of Yue Yang Hospital affiliated with the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (2021-012).
One limitation of this trial is that we will be unable to achieve strict double-blinding because of the features of naprapathy. The trial aims to contribute reliable evidence for decision-making in naprapathy for treating brachial plexus injury.
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry ChiCTR2100043515; http://www.chictr.org.cn/showproj.aspx?proj=122154