💥HOW NERVES MOVE ACROSS JOINTS: CONVERGENCE💥
When we move our joints, tension⬅➡ forces are applied to nerves that cross them. Nerves will actually slide TOWARDS the point of applied tension (the joint), and this concept is called Convergence. Essentially, neural tissue is ‘lent’ from either end of the nerve tract on either side of the joint. The concept is better explained with an example. Look at the photo above regarding the median nerve.☇
As the elbow moves from flexion💪 into extension🕺🏼, the median nerve portion in the upper arm slides DISTALLY⬇ towards the elbow, and the median nerve portion in the forearm slides PROXIMALLY⬆ towards the elbow. In other words, the portions of the nerve converge↘↙ at the elbow. If we were to add wrist extension (also shown above), some portion of the median nerve in the forearm will move DISTALLY towards the wrist, and some portion of the median nerve in the hand will move PROXIMALLY towards the wrist.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT❓❔❓
It allows for tension to be distributed more evenly 〰 along the nerve, rather than build up 😤 too much at a certain point. This protects against ischemia. Blood flow is blocked in peripheral nerves at 8-15% elongation due to the strangulation of vessels. In the above example, the nerve bed that contains the median nerve would have to elongate by ~20% from full elbow flexion to extension. If sliding of the median nerve toward the elbow (via convergence) did not occur, neural ischemia 😱 would result. Instead, because of convergence, the actual elongation of the nerve is probably only 4-6%. 👌
Don’t sit still! Make moves!🐒
Ref: Shacklock, M. Clinical Neurodynamics: a new system of musculoskeletal management. Elsevier Limited. 2005.
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