Nerve flossing refers to the method used to ease neural tension in different areas of the human body. It is also referred to as nerve mobilization. This specialized method is at times required to assist in mobilizing the hypersensitive peripheral nerve which may have become entangled.
It is common for the peripheral nerve to become entangled when it is overused, has undergone severe injuries, or is in poor posture. When this happens, all the nerves that are in the affected area become entrapped, which then leads to neural tension.
Symptoms associated with neural tension or recoiling include:
- Muscle weakness
Your body will then start to respond automatically in a bid to protect the affected muscle. Its response is normally in the form of muscle contractions, which targets all the surrounding muscles. The aim of this physiological response is to ensure that affected nerves are not damaged any further.
What is nerve flossing?
Nerve stretching/nerve glide
Nerve stretching or nerve flossing is used to refer to the special exercise methods that are employed in a bid to restore the traditional nerve movements. Or in some cases used to mobilize all surrounding tissues to assist in alleviating tension in the soft tissues.
It is recommended that the exercises not be carried out separately. Instead, they ought to be a part of combined healing efforts being used to assist a patient go back to their normal conditions. When employed correctly, it assists in releasing entrapped nerves, with the end result being a reduction of discomfort and pain being experienced by an individual.
How is nerve flossing done?
Nerve flossing is performed in different ways, in the different areas of your body. The following are some of the exercises carried out to release the neural tension.
Sciatic nerve flossing
The sciatic nerve is one of the biggest nerves in your body. The nerve passes across your back, to both thighs, your calf, and then comes to a halt in your foot. Your sciatic nerve is divided into two in the region below your knees. These are known as the fibular and Tibial nerves.
Sciatica is often defined as a kind of a pain in the leg that takes place when any of these two nerves become crisscrossed. Nerve flossing then needs to be applied so as to reduce the pain.
For the flossing to be carried out:
- a patient has to sit on a low stool or chair, ensuring that their posture remains straight,
- and that both feet are resting on the surface
- Once this is achieved, the painful leg must now be pulled back
- but it should not exceed ninety degrees.
- In this position, all toes should be facing up
- Move the foot upwards and above the ankle joint
- Repeat the process at least five or six times depending on your tolerance to pain
Ulnar nerve flossing in arm
Nerve flossing in the arm has been known to cause severe pain that can last for a few days after the flossing. There are individuals that can be able to withstand a moderate pain increase. However, flossing must be completed in a manner that is gentle, and one that exercises caution. Steps for ulnar nerve flossing in arm:
- Use the opposite hand to hold the little, index, and middle fingers of the arm in pain
- Assisted by the opposite hand, try to extend these three fingers in the direction facing away from your body
- Proceed to stretch the sore upper region at the wrist hypertension and the elbow extension
- Try and hold the wrist hypertension of the three fingers for around ten seconds
- As you are doing this, you should flex your neck in a bid to bring your chin closer to your chest
- Repeat the maneuver for between eight to ten times, three times each day
- How far you extend the three fingers will depend on how long you can withstand the pain
Radial nerve flossing and median nerve flossing are very similar. The only variation is in that here, your palm is facing downwards, and the arm is stretched at a side angle to your body. Your hand will hyper flex, as well as a hyper flex in the wrist section for a few times.
When you improve your pain tolerance, you should do the hand movements when your head is tilted towards the opposite direction for the entire duration of this exercise. Be sure to repeat this exercise at least three times each day.
Femoral nerve glide
Your femoral nerve happens to be the biggest nerve arising from your second, third, and fourth Lumbar vertebrae. This is located in your spine, from where it runs down to your thigh section via your inguinal ligament and psoas muscles. An entrapment of this nerve can lead to weakness in your quadriceps and pain when attempting to lift or move your thighs.
To floss the femoral nerve, you need to:
- Lie down with your chest facing downwards
- You should assume the cobra position, which will allow you to mildly stretch the muscles in the waist region
- Start by taking three deep breaths and begin to slowly move your head upwards to face the ceiling
- While moving the head, start flexing the lower section of the legs at the joint in the knees
- Try and maintain this position as you count downwards from ten
- Try and extend affected leg at the knee section allowing it to lie on the surface while at the same time trying to flex the upper section of your body to take on a neutral position
- It is important to ensure that there is coordinated movement between the leg and the upper body section
- As the leg is being taken down, the leg should simultaneously begin being tucked inside the chest
- This exercise should be repeated for between fifteen and twenty times
- If possible, do it three or four times each day
How to go about it:
- Stretch affected hand outwards until it rests at ninety degrees to your head
- Confirm that your palm is facing your ceiling
- Place your fingers in a straight position, and proceed to bend the palm upwards and downwards, while ensuring that it remains parallel to your head at all times
- As soon your pain tolerance has improved, proceed to stretch your hand further by attempting to bend your head in the other direction. Try and take is far as you can
Nerve flossing exercises for shoulder
Thousands of people around the world suffer from an entrapment of their shoulders. When it occurs, they experience pain and stiffness in this region. Such individuals can use nerve flossing to marshal their axillary nerves.
How to floss the shoulders:
- Try and keep your hands straight, and facing the floor
- They should at the same time be touching your thighs
- The palm side must be facing away from the thighs
- With this done, try and bend your head away from your affected shoulder
- You should try and move it as further away as you can
- You can expect to experience some pain in the first few days before it begins to lessen
- When your tolerance has improved, your next goal will be to touch your other shoulder using your ear
- Once you have bent it to the other shoulder, away from the shoulder that is affected, return your head back to its normal position
- Let it rest there for a few seconds
- Then attempt to bend it towards the affected shoulder
Nerves can become entangled at any time. They are problems that are very common for people who are active in different sports. Other people likely to be affected include people who commute on a daily basis using crowded public vehicles or workers who often have to carry heavy loads throughout the day.
People in these three categories are likely to suffer from frequent nerve entrapments. It is recommended that they make it a point to visit orthopedics whenever they get an entrapment so that they can be advised on which nerve flossing methods would be ideal for them. Additional advice will also be provided on the treatment methods that they ought to try to obtain quick relief.
You do not have to be affected by an entrapment for you try out the nerve flossing techniques that have been discussed above. Regular nerve flossing will help ensure that your nerve passages remain in top condition at all times, and will also assist in mitigating minor problems that may occur in your nerves.
Nerve flossing, when combined with physiotherapy techniques, can assist a person experiencing pain and discomfort go back to performing their daily duties with ease. The techniques come in handy when one is looking to do away with painful conditions which have not been lessened even after taking pain medication or after taking part in conventional therapy.
- Pramod Kerka. What is nerve flossing?: https://www.epainassist.com/manual-therapy
- Jessica McMahon. Sciatic Nerve Flossing: https://www.livestrong.com/article/287430-sciatic-nerve-flossing-exercise/
- Jonathan Fitzgordon. Nerve Flossing for Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome: https://corewalking.com/nerve-flossing-sciatica-piriformis-syndrome/
- Elizabeth Clarke. Nerve Flossing—the easy method for pain relief? :https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/nerve-flossing–the-easy-method-for-pain-relief-20170421-gvpc55.html