The difference between stretching your joint, muscle and nerves

Please read this post before viewing our series of self-help management videos.
Self Lateral Joint Mob

Stretching a joint:

  • stretch should follow the joint plane or the angle that the specific joint is made to move
  • normally involves a short stretch (<10sec) and more oscillatory movements
  • if a joint restriction exists, you may feel pain/discomfort at a localised point that may cause radiating or symptoms that spread around. in this case, getting out of that position should ease the symptoms immediately
  • if repeated movement into the position of pain does not ease the pain or increases the pain – please do not attempt to self treat/manage, see a physiotherapist.

Stretching a muscle

Stretching a muscle:

  • Stretch should go along the length of the muscle
  • Should be passive, unless deploying a Muscle Energy Technique
  • hold for 20-30 sec, but I would recommend repeated repetitions or longer stretch for ‘tighter’ individuals because obviously not everyone has same degree of muscle tension
  • you should not experience radiating symptoms or increasing pain/discomfort, the stretched / pulling feeling should ease, the longer you stretch. If you find your symptoms increasing, I urge you to stop stretching (you could be irritating your nerves instead). See a Physiotherapist.

Ulna nerve mob

Stretching a nerve:

  • this is the most complicated type of stretch because you need to have good knowledge of where the specific nerve travels along the body
  • in general, we aim to glide the nerve, i.e. impart minimal tension/ stretch onto the nerve. Research has shown that stretching the nerve is less beneficial than sliding the nerve in terms of recovery and overall improvement in nerve gliding.
  • the bottom line, please do not attempt to stretch your own nerves! Unless as taught by a Physiotherapist.

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