Neural tension technique is no different from random passive movements in reducing spasticity in patients with traumatic brain injury

Jakob Lorentzen, Dorthe Nielsen, Karl Holm, Susanne Baagøe, Michael J Grey, Jens B Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Neural tension technique (NTT) is a therapy believed to reduce spasticity and to increase range of motion (ROM). This study compared the ability of NTT and random passive movements (RPMs) to reduce spasticity in the knee flexors in 10 spastic patients with brain injury. 

METHODS: An RCT study with crossover design evaluated muscle tone measured by: 1) hand-held dynamometer; 2) Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS); 3) and ROM by; 4) angles of resistance onset "catch" (R1) compensatory movement (R2); and 5) 'subjectively perceived reduction in muscle tone'. Outcome measures were recorded by three raters before and after a single treatment session. 

RESULTS: Objective stiffness measured with the hand-held device showed no significant changes for the NTT or RPM (p ≥ 0.09-0.79). The subjective measures showed significant changes after the NTT for the non-blinded rater (MAS: p < 0.05: R1: p < 0.05; R2: p < 0.05), but for the blinded rater a significant reduction was found only for R1 (p < 0.05) and R2 (p < 0.05). For the non-blinded rater intervention effects were found for R1 (p < 0.01), R2 (p < 0.01) and subjectively perceived tone reduction (p < 0.01). For the blinded rater no intervention effect was found. 

CONCLUSIONS: An objective evaluation of NTT demonstrates that it does not reduce spasticity. However, it does increase ROM with the same effect as RPM. 

IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: • Neural tension techniques does not reduce spasticity in patients with traumatic brain injury when evaluated with objective biomechanical evaluation methods. • Neural tension techniques may improve range of motion with the same effect as random passive movements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1978-1985
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number23
Early online date19 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Spasticity
  • neural tension
  • traumatic brain injury

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