Nerve Entrapments & Nerve Mechanosensitivity
Nerve Entrapments are nerve impingement conditions in which nerves or nerve roots are placed under abnormal pressure by joints or soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, or fascia. The abnormal pressure on the nerves or nerve roots creates pain locally or radiating outward, numbness or tingling in the area supplied by the nerve and possibly weakness or twitching of affected/innervated muscles. Nerve entrapments are fairly common: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Piriformis Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Meralgia Paresthetica, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, to name a few
Causes Of Nerve Entrapment?
The most common causes are related to changes in the joints (degenerative, such as osteoarthritis or disc bulges), or due to excessive tension in muscles, tendons or fascia resulting in impingements. Overstretching nerves is also common as seen with whiplash or slumped head forward sitting postures. Overworking muscles and tendons through excessive exercise, or through incorrect repetitive motions (Repetitive Stress Injuries) including typing and assembly line work can also cause several nerve entrapment issues. Bad habits to avoid are sitting in slumped postures, carrying excessive load that results in excessive shoulder depression, and movement that may result in sustained nerve compression like excessive resting elbows on table or sitting crossed leg.
Neurodynamics is the science of the relationship between the mechanics and physiology of the nervous system, essentially a measure of the physical health of nerves. Just as a joint moves and muscles stretch, the nervous system is highly mobile and can be therefore assessed on its mobility and physical health with palpation and specific nerve mobility tests (Neurodynamic Testing).
Nerve flossing (sliders and tensioners) or nerve mobilization exercises are designed to improve nerve mobility while improving the physical health and function through specific movements designed to wind up and slide particular nerves and nerve bundles with respect to their many interfaces.