Nerve Flossing

Read with interest two pages 242-243 in Stuart McGill’s book LOW BACK DISORDERS on nerve flossing. Anyone know where additional information on nerve flossing could be found?

Me too I would like to know!

Stu McGill is speaking in Rhode Island in a few weeks and I will ask him the first weekend of June. Still, much of the information is for the early period of rehab or general population. Take each exercise and realize that over a short period of time such movements will need some tweals.

By the way anyone getting CEU’s down there?

What exactly is nerve flossing?

The purpose of nerve flossing is to remove dural adhesions. The dura is a covering of the nerve, runs from your brain to the big toe.

The trick is to put the nerve on tension, PAIN FREE, and move from above or below the nerve again pain free to “Free” the adhesion.

My experience working with this in the clinic is good, I have seen it work in several patients. Like I said above “PAIN FREE” you should feel an intense stretching sensation, it should be local. A burning sensation is not what you are looking for, if you feel this modify it by changing the intensity or moving from below/above.

I am in a hurry and am babbling a little, I hope that at least explains what you need.

Is this using static tension, or small intensity/duration bursts (like a grade 1 joint mob)?

Static tension on the nerve, and slow small amplitude movements most likely from neck or ankle, pulling on the nerve and releasing the adhesion (usually in low back). This should be performed for at least 1-2 minutes.

Again pain free is the key, if you are pulling too hard, a inflammatory reaction will occur, pain will increase and you will be going backwards.
I recommend seeking a Physio/physical therapist.
Active release is also helpful with these conditions.

If you dont mind me asking, are you a therapist?

I am an athletic trainer working in a therapy clinic.

Here’s a synopsis of McGill’s discription from the text:

  • begin with patient seated on edge of table with legs hanging freely
  • patient begins by flexing cervical/thoracic spine while also flexing the knee of the affected leg
  • this creates a pull from the cranial end while releasing the caudal end (no sciatic symptoms)
  • patient then extends cervical/thoracic spine while simultaneously extending affected leg
  • this creates a pull on the nerve from the caudal and while releasing the cranial end
  • sciatic symptoms may be exacerbated
  • if so reduce ROM until no symptoms are produced
  • continue cycle
  • may cause acute onset of symptoms, but tends to reduce symptoms over within a few days to weeks
  • remove procedure from any patients who are constantly worsened

I’ve used this procedure as a slow cyclical motion (using light tension). I’ve used this with one patient with good results. Two others showed no effect. McGill states that they have not been able to uncover a test to predict who will benefit or who will worsen from this procedure. As sjake stated, keeping the movement pain free seems to be the key when using this procedure.


It I were a text book writing kind of guy, that is how I would have written it.

So, that means that you won’t be writing a full discertation on the effects training hockey players while utilizing Jake-isms? Too bad, I was looking forward to that one.

Not in the near future no. :cool: