The term Median Nerve Flossing may make you uncomfortable if you’re not in the medical field. However, Median Nerve Flossing has been proven to be an effective way to treat pain, tingling, and burning sensations in your hand.
What is Median Nerve Flossing or Median Nerve Glides?
Median nerve floss, sometimes called median nerve exercises, median nerve stretches or median nerve glides are gentle exercises that stretch irritated nerves to help reduce pain and improve range of motion.
What is the Median Nerve and how does it function?
The median nerve is part of the upper limb. It is a major peripheral nerve that supplies the flexor muscles in the forearm except for flexor carpi ulnaris and the ulnar head of flexor digitorum profundus, which the ulnar nerve supplies.
The median nerve enables you to oppose (move) your thumb. This allows you to handle objects with precision and enables you to write or thread a needle.
When does a patient need Median Nerve Flossing?
When you feel a sharp, shooting, stabbing, or numbing pain in your hand after having surgery, this is because the nerve is not gliding normally through its sheath. It may be compressed or inflamed. If you have not had any surgery, there is a good chance you have injured a nerve.
What are the signs of a median nerve injury?
An elbow dislocation or supracondylar fracture or other forms of fracture should always be examined for damage to the median nerve. Other minor injuries to the medial ligament may also result in symptoms of the median nerve due to increased pressure on the nerve from swelling and bleeding in the area of the injury.
Nerve injury symptoms:
- A feeling of numbness or tingling in your forearm, thumb, and the three adjacent fingers.
- A weak grip and inability to move your thumb across your palm.
- Difficulty or inability to turn our hand over or flex your wrist down.
What conditions can be treated with Median Nerve Flossing?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
It is a common health condition that causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and arm. It occurs when the tunnel becomes narrowed or when tissues (synovium) surrounding the flexor tendons becomes inflamed, putting pressure on the median nerve.
- Repetitive hand use
If you repeat same wrist and hand motions or activities over a long period of time, this may aggravate the tendons in your wrist causing it to swell and this will put pressure on the nerve.
- Extreme hand and wrist position and/or movement
If you do activities involving extreme flexion or extension of your hand and wrist for a prolonged period of time, this can increase pressure on the nerve.
In some cases, hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause swelling.
- Other Health conditions
Health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid gland imbalance are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some people are born with a smaller carpal tunnel or there may be anatomic differences that change an individual’s amount of space for the nerve. These traits can be inherited from one generation to the next.
Pronator Teres Syndrome
Pronator Teres Syndrome, also known as Pronator Syndrome occurs when the median nerve near the elbow becomes compressed between the two sections of the pronator teres muscle located in the forearm.
Pronator Teres Syndrome is caused by certain repetitive movements of your forearm. The movements involve forearm pronation or turning your forearm from a palm up position to a palm down position.
When you forcefully grip or grasp something in your hand during forearm pronation, this can cause strain in the pronator teres muscle in your arm.
Tennis players, weight lifters, mechanics, and carpenters typically do repetitive pronation motions and are likely to suffer from this condition.
- Pain in your forearm
- A feeling of weakness in your arm or hand
- Tenderness over the pronator teres muscle
- Tingling and numbness in the palm, index finger, or thumb
There is no pain or discomfort at night (compared with carpal tunnel syndrome where a patient is more likely to feel pain at night)
Anterior Interosseous Syndrome (AINS)
Anterior Interosseous Syndrome (AINS) is also known as Kiloh-Nevin syndrome. It is a pure motor neuropathy since there are no sensory fibers in the anterior interosseous nerve. However, some patients say there is a dull pain in their forearm.
Patients are also unable to make an OK sign because the flexion of the interphalangeal joint of the thumb and the distal interphalangeal joint of the index finger is impaired.
Patients with AINS are also unable to pinch a sheet of paper using the thumb and index finger.
How will a patient benefit from median nerve flossing exercises?
Median nerve exercises will help move the nerve along its distribution by shortening or lengthening the path that the nerve travels from its source at the spinal cord to its endpoint in the hands.
Median nerve flossing exercises help reduce pain and symptoms of nerve injury while helping the patient return to normal sensation and function.
Median nerve flossing helps the patient achieve this, in most cases, after several weeks of treatment.
How are median nerve glides done?
Before doing specific median nerve flossing exercises, you need these basic guidelines:
- Median nerve exercises or median nerve stretches should not be painful. If you start feeling pain, you have to stop.
- Try to keep your muscles relaxed while doing median nerve glides.
- Try taking deep, long breaths while doing median nerve floss.
- Start median nerve exercises slowly and only do a few repetitions at a time until your body adjusts.
Here is a video that explains how you can do median nerve glides:
Median Nerve Flossing works best with other physical therapy treatments.
Vigor Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation has a team of experienced, highly-skilled physical and occupational therapists who can help you safely achieve best results using median nerve flossing exercises.
Contact Vigor Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation today and talk to Dr. Voloshin if you have any questions. Give us a call or send us an email.