Nerves carry the neural information about pain, touch, temperature, and body position from the sensors in the muscles and convey it to the brain. They also carry back the instructions on how to respond to such stimuli. Sometimes, nerves get inflamed, injured, or entrapped in soft tissue. As a result, the adhesions appear, and the free movement of the nerve is blocked. In such cases, nerve gliding exercises play a significant role. These exercises help in reducing adhesions, improving blood circulation, thus allowing free movement of the nerves. Different nerves have different nerve gliding exercises.
Nerve gliding exercises are also known as neural gliding or nerve flossing. The purpose of these exercises is to improve the mobility of the nerve.
Research evidence on the effectiveness of nerve gliding exercises has shown, that nerve gliding exercises help in improving pain measures and function in cubital tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, and piriformis syndrome. They act as an adjunct to conservative treatment methods.
Nerve gliding exercises are easy to do. Some of the nerve gliding exercises for commonly involved nerves are as follows.
- Median Nerve Gliding Exercise– Lift your arm from the side to shoulder level with elbow bent to 90 degrees and palm facing up. Now extend your arm by straightening your arm. Bend your head to the side opposite of the stretched arm. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times.
- Ulnar Nerve Gliding Exercise-With your arm extended straight in front of you and the palm facing up, curl your wrist and fingers toward your palm, then bend them away from you, and then slowly and gently bend your elbow. Hold for five seconds and repeat five times.
- Radial Nerve Gliding Exercise-Stand with the arm by your side with shoulder slightly depressed and palm facing backward. Bend your wrist and move your arm back. Then bend your neck to the opposite side of the stretched arm. Hold for five seconds and do five reps.
- Sciatica Nerve Gliding Exercise-Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, grab the back on your thigh with both hands and extend the knee fully while pulling your ankle and toes towards you. Bring the knee back to 90 degrees and pull up again. Repeat 5-10 times. Standing hamstring stretch is also one of the ways to glide the sciatic nerve.
Ensure that your body is relaxed while doing nerve gliding exercises.
STAY HEALTHY! STAY INFORMED!