‘Nerve flossing,’ what’s that?
Our chiropractic physicians use a variety of physical medicine modalities to help get you out of pain and to return to a full restoration of activity and health. Often many of the conditions our providers treat include injuries to nerves, joints, or muscles. For our patients experiencing certain types of nerve injuries, our providers may incorporate specific neurodynamic techniques, colloquially known as ‘nerve flossing’ exercises, as part of their treatment.
Nerve flossing is used for cases of radiculopathy, a condition associated with irritation of a nerve that results in pain in an extremity (either an arm or leg – like in sciatica). These exercises are designed to gently glide the nerve around the area in which it is being irritated, offering it more room to move. In turn, the exercises decrease the amount of pressure being placed on an injured nerve, ultimately helping to reduce pain and increase nerve function.
A great example of the benefits of incorporating nerve flossing exercises with treatment is in cases of ‘pinched’ nerves in the neck or low back. Furthermore, nerves may become irritated or ‘pinched’ at the spine, but this may occur anywhere they travel through an arm or leg. For example, research supports treating some instances of carpal tunnel syndrome with neurodynamic maneuvers. Nerve flossing is a useful adjunct treatment for pinched nerves, but research suggests that patients with fibromyalgia respond well to neurodynamic techniques as well.
While there is current and exciting research regarding the benefits of nerve flossing, it is essential that a physician or manual therapist first evaluate you before beginning these techniques. Without the guidance of a licensed provider, a patient may unknowingly put excessive strain on an already irritated nerve, thereby worsening symptoms and causing more pain.
If you are experiencing neck, back, arm, or leg pain and are interested in seeing if nerve flossing exercises may help you, contact our office to schedule an in-office or telehealth appointment with one of our chiropractic physicians.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30664500/ [cervical radiculopathy]
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29307812/ [carpal tunnel syndrome]
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28395984/ [carpal tunnel syndrome]