Advanced Nerve Stretch | Early Intervention Ergonomics
What is the Advanced Nerve Stretch?
The “Advanced Nerve Stretch,” also known as the median nerve stretch, is a composite stretch that originates at the nerve roots in the neck and pulls all the way down to the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel. Perform this stretch to give your body rest when performing forceful gripping, repetitive gripping, awkward or sustained postures of the elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Here is how to perform the advanced nerve stretch:
- Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Extend both arms straight out to the side at shoulder level, with your palms facing up.
- Next, point your fingers down toward the floor. You palms should be facing away from you.
- Gently tilt your head slowly towards your left shoulder, aiming to bring your ear closer to the shoulder.
- Next, gently tilt your head slowly towards your right shoulder, aiming to bring your ear closer to the shoulder.
- Proceed to gently go back and forth performing about 5 repetitions each.
- You should feel the stretch in the opposite arm from where you tilt the head towards the shoulder.
This is an excellent stretch to replenish nutrients and re-oxygenate the distal upper extremity. The advanced nerve stretch combines lateral flexion of the neck with arm extension to stretch the muscles and nerves associated with the median nerve. It can help relieve tension and promote flexibility in the neck, shoulder, and upper limb. However, it’s important to perform the stretch gently and within your pain-free range of motion. If you experience any pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to stop and consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation.
Early Intervention Benefits
The advanced nerve stretch provides several potential early intervention benefits for those workers who perform work-related activities that involve the elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. Here are some of those benefits:
- Relieving Median Nerve Compression: The stretch can help alleviate compression of the median nerve, which runs through the forearm, wrist, and hand. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, where the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, may benefit from this stretch.
- Increasing Flexibility: Regularly performing the median nerve stretch can improve flexibility in the wrist, forearm, and hand. This increased flexibility can enhance overall range of motion and function in daily activities.
- Alleviating Symptoms: The stretch may help alleviate symptoms associated with median nerve compression, such as pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the forearm, wrist, hand, and fingers. It can provide temporary relief and promote better nerve function.
- Promoting Blood Circulation: Stretching exercises, including the median nerve stretch, can enhance blood circulation in the targeted areas. Improved blood flow aids in delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and nerves, promoting their health and recovery.
- Injury Prevention: Engaging in the median nerve stretch, can help prevent injuries to the distal upper extremity. It promotes flexibility and improves the overall range of motion in the wrist, forearm, and hand. Adding this stretch to your morning routine can reduce the risk of strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal injuries during workplace activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements.
Things to Remember:
Remember, while the median nerve stretch can offer potential benefits, it’s important to perform it correctly, within your pain-free range of motion. Listen to your body. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the stretch or have specific concerns, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for guidance tailored to your individual needs.
These early intervention exercises are to improve overall health & fitness as well as help reduce work-related injuries.
If you have an injury or illness, consult with a health care professional before attempting.
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