Nerve Slide Motion Exercises

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Nerve slide exercises decrease nerve entrapment. Slides are gentle motion exercises for the upper extremity. Performed correctly and consistently nerve slide exercises lessen symptoms of nerve impingement conditions by eliminating the source.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome are the most common conditions nerve slides help prevent and manage. An extrinsic source of nerve impingement conditions is repetitive motions performed in static positions at a computer work station.

Nerves are positioned between and through muscles as they travel from their origin to their destination. Muscles and nerves normally slide smoothly over each other. When a nerve is impinged the fluid sliding motion ceases. Scar tissue formation begins to encase the nerve to the surrounding tissues at multiple locations. Pressure on the nerve occurs at numerous locations.

Nerve slide exercises help re-establish the correct motion between nerves and muscles by freeing the nerves from the scar tissue encasement. Nerve impingement decreases and symptoms lessen.

Nerve slide exercises move the upper extremity from a position where the nerve is on a short path to a position where the nerve is on a longer path. Nerve slides are gentle, slow exercises performed with control and precision through a pain-free range of motion.

Begin with one repetition and slowly advance to five to ten repetitions throughout the day. Start executing the motions in increments then progress to one fluid motion.

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) occurs from impingement of the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves in the neck, chest and shoulder that transmits signals to and from the upper extremity. Symptoms of TOS are felt throughout the arm.

Perform a nerve slide for the brachial plexus by following these instructions. Stand up straight and tilt your head to one side. Hold your upper arm by your side and bend your elbow. Make a gentle fist and tuck it under your chin. Straighten your elbows and fingers. Raise your arm out to the side until its parallel to the floor and rotate your palm so it faces the floor. Bend your wrist toward the ceiling and splay your fingers. Reach your arm backward as far as possible and bend your head to opposite direction.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by impingement of the median nerve. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common upper extremity nerve impingement condition. The median nerve innervates the thumb, index finger, middle finger and the side of the ring finger near the middle finger.

Follow these steps to perform a nerve slide for the median nerve. Stand in good posture. Make a gentle fist with your palm facing downward and your wrist flexed toward your feet. Simultaneously open your hand, splay your fingers and straighten your wrist. Turn your forearm so your palm faces upward. Reach underneath with the opposite hand, grab the base of your thumb and gently rotate the forearm outward.

Cubital Tunnel syndrome results from impingement of the ulnar nerve or “Funny bone nerve.” The ulnar nerve transmits signals to and from the pinkie, ring finger and the pinkie side of the forearm, wrist and hand.

Start with your arm out in front of you slightly below shoulder height, with your palm facing upward and wrist bent toward the ceiling. Bend the wrist downward and straighten your fingers. Bend the elbow and bring the palm toward your chin. Hold for one second then return to the beginning position.

The radial nerve innervates the back of the hand. Stand up with your arm by your side and palm facing you. Turn your arm so your hand faces backward and flex your wrist so your palm faces skyward. Lower your shoulder toward the ground and bend your head to the opposite side.

Slides are also effective motion exercises for the tendons of the hands and fingers. Hold your wrists straight and bend your fingers at the top two knuckles and hold for two seconds. Move your fingertips to the middle of your palm and hold for another two seconds. Move your fingertips to the pad of your palm, lightly press against the pad and hold for two seconds.

Nerve slides should never elicit symptoms. If a nerve slide exercise elicits symptoms decrease the tempo and number of repetitions. If the symptoms continue with the slower pace skip that exercise and proceed to another.

Nerve slides are simple effective exercises used to reduce the source and symptoms of upper extremity nerve encasement. Utilize nerve slide exercises in conjunction with proper work station ergonomics, dynamic motions and frequent breaks to prevent and manage painful and function-limiting repetitive strain injuries.


Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic located at 2595 S. Cimarron Rd, Suite #100, Las Vegas, NV 89117.  His web address is and he can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness, exercise and nutrition column for The Las Vegas Informer. His is also published in OnFitness magazine,,, and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to various groups on health, fitness, exercise and nutrition topics. His mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC loves to exercise. Bike riding and kettlebell training are his current favorite forms of exercises. He credits “The Godfather of Fitness” Mr. Jack LaLanne as an early influence on his life.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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