Have you got neural tension?

We are all familiar with the importance of stretching our muscles but do you know how to mobilise you neural tissue aka your nerves?

Neurodynamics is the science of neural tissue and how well these tissues move throughout your body.

It is just as important as stretching muscles…..if not more! Neural tension in the upper back and neck can lead to headaches. Neural tension often builds up in the background before pain is produced in the area. The pain is your brain telling you it is time to do something about it! So how can you tell if you have neural tension?

Try these quick self­tests…..

1. In a comfortably seated position tuck your chin in and tilt your head down towards your chest. Do you feel pulling into your upper back or neck? Is it pulling more on one side than the other?

2. Lie on your back and lift your leg straight up in the air (one at a time unless you want an abdominal workout!). Make sure your knee remains straight then point your toes and turn your foot inwards. Do you feel excessive pulling on the outside of your lower leg? Now try pulling your toes back and turn your foot outwards­ do you feel pulling in your calf? Compare to your other side.

3. Sit on the edge of a bed or chair. Slump down and forwards then straighten 1 leg out in front of you. Do you feel increased pulling in your back when you straighten your leg and do the legs feel different?

4. Lie on your back with a small rolled up towel under your head. Lift your leg up straight in the air keeping the knee locked straight. Stop when you feel tension then gently tuck your chin down….do you feel an increase in the pulling at the back of your leg or in your back? Do the 2 sides feel different?

5. Lastly….and this one is especially for office workers. Lift your arm out to the side so it is in line with your body (at 90 degrees) and parallel to the floor. Pull the fingers of the extended arm back. Compare this to your other arm…do they feel different? Repeat again but now take your opposite ear down to your opposite shoulder. Does the head movement increase the pulling in your arm or shoulder. Does it cause tingling in your hand? Do the 2 sides feel different?

A yes answer to any of the above could indicate neural tension. A stretch feeling with any of the above tests is normal but if the pulling is excessive or more pronounced on side then it needs to be addressed.

Your test becomes your treatment. Work on the limited side holding for up to 10 seconds (if you can) repeating that 5 times and doing at least 3 sets a day. If the pulling does not ease you may need a helping hand or two so come and see your physio for neurodynamic assessment and treatment.

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