How are the nerves affected in an elbow, wrist, or hand injury?
Sensory nerves transmit signals from our arm to the brain, processing that information and triggering reactions in our body. Motor nerves transmit signals from the brain to the muscles for movement.
This circuitry allows our body to send signals of vibration, touch, pain, and temperature to our brain. Nerves are actually quite fragile and can become injured from being stretched, cut or compressed (pressure on them).
When injured, nerve pathways become disrupted and can send signals our brains don’t expect. Nerve damage can cause muscle weakness, pain, tingling, and loss of feeling to the injured area.
What is Nerve Gliding?
Nerves are ropey fibrous cords that are surrounded by sheaths, allowing the nerve to “slide” or “glide” within them when you move. The nerves of our arms travel from our necks into our hands through muscles and ligament tunnels.
Nerve Gliding, also known as Nerve Flossing or Neutral Glides, consists of using strategic stretching and movement techniques to gently mobilize compressed or irritated nerves through these ligament and muscle tunnels.
These exercises can reduce pain, increase range of motion, and improve function.
What elbow, wrist, or hand injuries can Nerve Gliding help with?
- Carpal Tunnel injuries
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
- Muscle Strains
- Post-Surgical cases involving nerves or swelling
- After a period of immobilization
What does Nerve Gliding feel like?
During Nerve Gliding you are gently stretching the nerve covering and moving it through the tunnels. This can result in some tingling or discomfort during the nerve glide but that should be kept to a minimum. This should quickly dissipate once the glide exercise is over.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to only perform these exercises under the supervision of a trained hand therapist.
If the nerve is OVERstretched, it may result in inflammation of the nerve and/or lead to possible long-term nerve damage.
Is Nerve Gliding right for me?
While some nerve injuries may benefit from Nerve Gliding, others may also need additional therapy incorporated, or alternative measures altogether (some cases may require surgery).
Since each patient and their injuries are so different, individual treatment recommendations will vary.
Do you have an elbow, wrist, or hand injury that needs treatment from a hand therapist?
Give Armworks Hand Therapy a call or schedule an appointment online to get started today!