Nerve mobilization

Sensory disturbances, numbness and tingling in the arms are signs that the nerves are irritated somewhere on the way from the spine to the fingertips. One reason might be a spinal disc herniation, although that's not common for RSI sufferers. However if you have any of the symptoms mentioned, please have a neurologist or orthopedist look at your case. Only if other serious diseases have been ruled out, you can start with the exercises shown on this page.

With the exercises shown below, you can gently move the affected nerves in their sheaths back and forth. Light complaints can be resolved in a few days or weeks. If you have stronger nerve irritation, you might not notice any improvement, your pain might even get worse. In any case start very carefully and make only slight movements during the first few days. If you perform the exercises correctly, you will feel a slight pull in the entire arm to the fingertips. Nerves are very sensitive. If you overdo it, they can give you several days of pain.

Please have a look at the page Treatment plans to find out if these nerve mobilization exercises suit your personal stage of the recovery.

All exercises / activities on this page are only suggestions. For your individual complaints some will be more useful than others. Print out this page and discuss all the information with a doctor or physical therapist before trying them out. You do everything at your own risk!

Nerve mobilization exercise 1      Nerve mobilization exercise 2

Form a "U" with your upper arms, palms facing upward. From this starting position stretch your arms slowly (image 1, red arrow), hold a few seconds and go back to the starting position. Repeat this exercise five times. Return to the starting position, however this time with the tips of your fingers facing towards your head. Repeat five times.

The second exercise begins with your arms hanging down and your head tilted to the side. Tilt your opposite hand backward (palm facing up) and move that arm slightly to the back (image 2, bottom red arrow). At the same time return your head back to the normal position (image 2, top red arrow). Hold briefly and then move back to the starting position. Make sure you don't raise your shoulders. Repeat the exercise five times with each arm.

PDF Both images in one pdf document

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