By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)

Here, we will explain what median nerve gliding is (also known as Median Nerve Flossing). We will also show you some simple nerve gliding exercises that you can do in the comfort of your home.

The median nerve is one of the three major nerves responsible for movement and feeling in your arms and hands. This nerve travels from the neck all the way to your hands and enables you to move your hands and fingers and to feel sensation in your palms. If a median nerve is injured or irritated, it may cause altered/ reduced sensation and strength in these areas.

The most common cause of median nerve symptoms is the median nerve being squeezed at the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This is known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). CTS symptoms are burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm. It can affect anyone. But it is more common in females above the age of 40.

Nerve gliding exercise helps to increase range of motion, reduce damages to nerves, and relieve pain.  When a nerve is irritated or inflamed, it won’t be able to glide normally through the surrounding sheath which can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. Like muscles, nerves can be carefully mobilised to encourage them to glide normally and therefore reduce symptoms of CTS. You may follow along with the exercise from this video.

Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.