In the general public there seems to be a lack of awareness regarding neural dynamics. Everyone knows muscles and joints require movement, but people do not think about the nervous system as a mobile unit. As a profession, physical therapy is gaining more knowledge regarding neural dynamics and incorporating these principles into our treatment sessions and home exercise programs. Unfortunately, we are not doing an adequate job explaining to patients WHY we are performing these exercises.
What is important to know about the nervous system?
The body is one unit of interconnected nerves stemming from the brain. Healthy nerves require regular movement to stay lubricated and mobile. Unhealthy nerves are less pliable and can get trapped or compressed creating nerve tension. Decreased pliability increases the risk of injury because of the high amount of oxygen required by the nervous system. The nervous system receives 20% of the body’s blood supply, yet comprises only 2% of the body’s weight. It relies on adequate oxygen to function, and whenever that supply is disrupted, problems (manifested as tension) occur.
The above paragraph is brief summary of a 2009 3 part series, by Todd Hargrove on Nerve Mechanics. These easy to read blog posts will give you simple tips to explain nerve pain to your patients.