Let's talk neural tension and the benefits of nerve glides!
Just like how your muscles can get tight, nerves can become restricted as well. Neural tension not only can impact mobility but can also lead to symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and even weakness.
Nerve glides are a great way to gently mobilize the nerve without causing excessive symptom reproduction. Here are a few examples of lower extremity nerve glides targeting the sciatic, sural, and tibial nerves:
⚡️Sciatic nerve glide: The sciatic nerve arises from the lumbosacral plexus in your lower back and then travels down the back of your thigh before splitting off into different branches (i.e. the tibial and common peroneal nerves). To gently mobilize the sciatic nerve, lie down on your back and raise the symptomatic leg up, using your hands to support the posterior thigh. Gently extend/straighten your knee and alternate between ankle dorsiflexion (i.e. bringing your toes up towards the ceiling) and ankle plantarflexion (i.e. bringing toes down as if you are pushing on a gas pedal).
⚡️Sural nerve glide: This nerve is a combined branch of the tibial and common fibular nerves and supplies sensation along the lateral (outer) calf, heel, and foot. To gently mobilize the sural nerve, begin in the same position as described above with symptomatic leg up. Gently alternate between bringing foot down and in then up.
⚡️Tibial nerve glide: The tibial nerve travels down the back of your calf and tucks into your foot under your inner ankle (i.e. medial malleolus). It supplies both motor and sensory innervation to the back of your calf and foot. To gently mobilize the tibial nerve, begin in the same starting position as stated above. Gently bring foot/toes up and out then down.
Tune in next week for examples of upper extremity nerve glides!
Note: this is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult with your local PT prior to beginning a new exercise regimen.