Nerve pain can be elusive. Nerves can be aggravated by muscle and joint inflammation, they can be damaged by trauma, and they can loose their elasticity as well. Nerves can give pain, numbness, tingling, dull ache or even sharp pains. Nerves need to stretch and glide in our bodies. They can shorten, just like muscles if they are not moved or they are damaged. Certain nerves will respond in different ways when they are stretched or compressed.
Just the other day, I was evaluating a person who had some odd sensations in their leg, but it was difficult to describe and inconsistent in the way the symptoms behaved. Since, I have studied David Butler from Australia who wrote “Mobilisation of the Nervous System”, I evaluated the clients nerve mobility. I was listening to the words that were chosen to describe the symptoms and after looking at the muscles, joints and tendons, I moved onto nerves. I found that this person had a significant lack of motion in a particular direction when I put a moderate stretch on the sciatic nerve. There is not seem to be any other symptoms related to the joint, muscle or tendon. I was able to repeatedly reproduce her “odd” pain with a loaded stretch.
So, when evaluating patients, listening and carefully assessing the problem can help determine the culprit of pain. Nerve mobility is just one part of diagnosing pain, but it is interesting and challenging to see how nerve stretch really helps relieve odd nerve pains.