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What is Neurodynamic Stretching & Do I Need It?

Neurodynamic stretching is an exercise technique that physical therapists often use to improve the way your nerves move. Nerves, tendons, joints, and muscles can become tight due to an injury or illness, and your physical therapist may determine that neurodynamic stretching is necessary to improve the nerve motion or neurodynamics to help you move and feel better. 

But what is neurodynamic stretching and how do you know if you need it? Read on… 

What is Neurodynamic Stretching?

Essentially, neurodynamic stretching is a technical type of stretching that is done by a physical therapist to treat neuropathy by stretching nerves. It may also partly explain why simple stretching feels so good. 

Some pain in our bodies is caused by physical interference with nerves and is called neuropathy. Carpal tunnel and sciatica are common neuropathies. Neurodynamics is a treatment that uses experimental stretching and positioning to treat “unhappy” nerve tissue with the stimulation of stretches.  

Neurodynamic stretching may not look like stretching at all. More specifically, it is possible to slide, glide, or floss the nerves in their sheaths to treat nerve pain. 

Why Neurodynamic Stretching is Prescribed

After an injury or illness, physical therapy may be beneficial to help you fully recover. Your physical therapist will assess you for various impairments including measurements of:

  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Range of motion
  • Balance
  • Nerve tension

If your physical therapist determines that you have nerve tension or tightness and they are contributing to pain or limited motion, they may prescribe neurodynamic stretching or nerve gliding exercises to improve the mobility of the nerves. 

Common conditions that may require neurodynamic stretching can include:

  • Sciatica
  • Herniated disc
  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome
  • Tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • Muscle strains
  • After surgery 

The goal of neurodynamic stretching is to decrease pain and improve range of motion and function.

What Does Neurodynamic Stretching Feel Like?

When performing neurodynamic stretches or nerve gliding, be aware that it typically causes pain or tingling. Once the exercise is complete, you should feel back to normal within a few minutes.

When performing neurodynamic stretching, there should be little to no pain when there is no stress or stretching on the tight or injured nerve; symptoms or pain should only be felt when the nerve is stretched. 

If you feel lasting pain or tingling after a neurodynamic exercise, you may be doing the motions too aggressively. If this occurs, speak with your physical therapist about how to proceed. 

Soothe Nerve Pain and Regain Range of Motion 

Neurodynamic stretching is a gentle way to soothe compressed nerves and help regain your range of motion, especially when combined with traditional exercise and modalities from a physical therapist. If you are suffering from nerve pain, call Impact Med in Zephyrhills to discuss neurodynamic stretching with our physical therapists. 

We can help you regain your range of motion and live nerve pain-free. Call Impact Med Zephyrhills today— (813) 706-5156!