What is nerve tension? Nerve tension is pain that occurs because a nerve is being compressed or stuck in its surrounding tissue which prevents it from moving within its tract like it normally does. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If a joint has been immobile for a period of time it increases the risk that a nerve can get a little stuck due to the prolonged lack of motion. The movement patterns that a person typically uses can also increase the chance of nerve tension. Sometimes there is no known reason at all.
How does this cause pain? This can occur for several reasons. The first is because of inflammation in the tissue surrounding the nerve causing compression. This compression on the nerve can send signals to your brain indicating pain at the site of inflammation. It could also be due to hypersensitivity of a nerve. This is when the nerve sends signals to your brain indicating pain with movement that is not usually painful. Finally, it can also occur if the nerve is getting stuck in the tract that it normally glides in. This prevents the nerve from moving freely and can limit that amount of motion allowed at a joint.
What are the symptoms? Some common symptoms can be a burning or tingling sensation in positions that elongate the nerve. A feeling of heaviness or weakness can also be caused by a problem with nerve tension. Even a decrease in the range of motion of a joint can sometimes stem from a nerve tension issue.
How is this treated? This can be treated by gliding the nerve through its tract. Nerves cannot be stretched in the same way muscles can be. They instead just slide through a tract all throughout your body. So to help them move better you can moving body parts on both ends of the nerve to help “floss” it back and forth through its tract. This helps it to move more freely along its normal path.
Talk to your physical therapist about nerve tension if you feel like this might relate to you.
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