| Article written on June 21st, 2016 at 1:23pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
This past weekend, I had the privilege of taking the long tract nerve entrapment course by Active Release Techniques (ART). I was super excited as it was my first advanced level ART course after becoming full body certified. Not to mention I have seen more cases that seemed soft-tissue related but were actually the result of nerve entrapment. And from what I heard, the long tract protocols were the last line of defense when other protocols for nerve entrapment fall short.
For those of you who are new to my blog, I love to re-cap and talk about the key points that hit home during various courses and educational experiences. The long tract nerve entrapment course did not disappoint as the information was rich and the instructor very knowledgeable. Here’s what I learned…
1. Nerves need to move. That’s common sense, right? Oftentimes from overuse, and as fibrosis develops in the soft-tissue, nerves become entrapped as they run alongside or through various structures. With such a small space for nerves to glide, any restriction can cause compression, tension, and damage. This can leave you with symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain.
2. Chronic muscle tightness can be a result of entrapped nerves. Let’s look at the hamstring in particular… Seeing hamstring tightness is commonplace in the general popular and athletes. Although there may be a myriad of causes, neural tension by entrapment of the sciatic nerve needs to be ruled out. When the sciatic nerve is constantly placed in a position where it is elongated to it’s end-range, the hamstring muscle group will contract to limit injury. This person may not feel any nerve-like symptoms, besides always complaining of hamstring tightness.
This scenario is possible throughout the body where nerve tension is altered. In our case, if the sciatic nerve becomes entrapped at the piriformis or under the hamstrings, the body’s instinct may be to increase muscular tone and tension to prevent damage to the nerve. Always consider the body’s desire to protect itself.
3. Paresthesia can occur anywhere below the nerve entrapment site, but never above. This is important to remember. If you have nerve entrapment at the scalenes, you may feel symptoms from the neck all the way down to the fingertips. But, if you have an entrapment at the wrist, your symptoms will only be in the hand and fingertips, never the forearm. Paying close attention to your symptom pattern can tell a lot of where the issue may be. Or more so where it is not.If you are suffering from some type of nerve-related injury, ART may be beneficial for you. Obviously this is one piece of the puzzle and the whole musculoskeletal system needs to be evaluated. But, it may be a fantastic treatment method to resolve your ailment if others have fallen short.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART