Do ‘sliders’ slide and ‘tensioners’ tension? An analysis of neurodynamic techniques and considerations regarding their application

Michel W.Coppieters and David S. Butler

The aim of this cadaveric biomechanical study was to measure longitudinal excursion and strain in the median and ulnar nerve at the wrist and proximal to the elbow during different types of nerve gliding exercises. The results confirmed the clinical assumption that ‘sliding techniques’ result in a substantially larger excursion of the nerve than ‘tensioning techniques’ and that this larger excursion is associated with a much smaller change in strain. The findings demonstrate that different types of nerve gliding exercises have largely different mechanical effects on the peripheral nervous system. Hence different types of techniques should not be regarded as part of a homogenous group of exercises as they may influence neuropathological processes differently.

The findings of this study and a discussion of possible beneficial effects of nerve gliding exercises on neuropathological processes may assist the clinician in selecting more appropriate nerve gliding exercises in the conservative and post-operative management of common neuropathies.

Manual Therapy, 2008, 13(3), 213-221

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