Neural Glides for Ulnar, Median & Radial Nerves

The nerves in your arms and legs can move and stretch. Nerves can become injured just like muscles and tendons. Scar tissue can build up and trap the nerves. This can lead to chronic inflammation and pain. To get the nerves moving again, you can do special stretches called neural glides (also called neural flossing or nerve stretching).  

For your arm, there are three main nerves that can get damaged or trapped at your neck, shoulder, wrist, or elbow. These three nerves are your ulnar nerve, median nerve, and radial nerve. Neural glides should be performed very gently and there should never be pain. Nerves are very fragile and too much stretching can injure them as well.

To stretch the ulnar nerve, take your index (pointer) finger and touch it to your thumb while holding your other three fingers in the air, like an okay sign. Bring your hand towards your face leading with your pinky finger like you are going to place it over your eye (like making a mask when we were children). At first you might not be able to place it completely over your eye, but remember not to push too hard, you just want a gentle stretch. Start off with ten times and do this two to three times a day.

The next stretch is for the median nerve. Take your arm out to the side of you at a ninety-degree angle with your palm facing up. Keeping your fingers straight, bend up and down at your wrist. You can add more of a stretch by side bending your head to the opposite side (touching your ear to your shoulder). If that is still not quite enough, then move your arm slightly behind you and repeat the process.

With the radial nerve, you want to perform the same stretch as the median nerve, but this time turn your palm down towards the ground.

For the legs, you want to sit down. Straighten out your leg (kick it forward). Pull your toes towards you and then point them out (doriflex and plantarflex). If that is not enough stretch, then slump your upper body down and bring your chin to your chest, and repeat the above movements.

Remember to be very gentle with these stretches and only do about ten at a time, two to three times a day.  

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