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Background: Neuropathic pain (NP), a severe and disruptive symptom following many diseases, normally restricts patients' physical functions and leads to anxiety and depression. As an economical and effective therapy, exercise may be helpful in NP management. However, few guidelines and reviews focused on exercise therapy for NP associated with specific diseases. The study aimed to summarize the effectiveness and efficacy of exercise for various diseases with NP supported by evidence, describe expert recommendations for NP from different causes, and inform policymakers of the guidelines. Design: A systematic review and expert consensus. Methods: A systematic search was conducted in PubMed. We included systematic review and meta-analysis, randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which assessed patients with NP. Studies involved exercise intervention and outcome included pain intensity at least. Physiotherapy Evidence Database and the Assessment of Multiple Systematic reviews tool were used to grade the quality assessment of the included RCTs and systematic reviews, respectively. The final grades of recommendation were based on strength of evidence and a consensus discussion of results of Delphi rounds by the Delphi consensus panel including 21 experts from the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine. Results: Eight systematic reviews and 21 RCTs fulfilled all of the inclusion criteria and were included, which were used to create the 10 evidence-based consensus statements. The 10 expert recommendations regarding exercise for NP symptoms were relevant to the following 10 different diseases: spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, cervical radiculopathy, sciatica, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, HIV/AIDS, and surgery, respectively. The exercise recommended in the expert consensus involved but was not limited to muscle stretching, strengthening/resistance exercise, aerobic exercise, motor control/stabilization training and mind-body exercise (Tai Chi and yoga). Conclusions: Based on the available evidence, exercise is helpful to alleviate NP intensity. Therefore, these expert consensuses recommend that proper exercise programs can be considered as an effective alternative treatment or complementary therapy for most patients with NP. The expert consensus provided medical staff and policymakers with applicable recommendations for the formulation of exercise prescription for NP. This consensus statement will require regular updates after five–ten years.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Medicine

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