Neurodynamics... More Than Meets the Eye

Movement is more than muscles pulling on bones; it is a complex symphony of neurology which integrates the musculoskeletal system, the peripheral nervous system and all levels of the central nervous system.
— Michael Shacklock

Micheal Shacklock, THE Neurodynamics Expert

Shacklock Neurodynamics

If you have found your way to the Gestalt Education blog, you more than likely know how to perform peripheral nerve tension tests. However, knowing what they mean and when they matter have always been a burning question of mine. I learned the simple tests: Median Nerve Tension, Ulnar Nerve Tension, Peroneal Nerve Tension, etc. but always had a difficult time knowing what they meant. Is it the muscle? Is it the Nerve? Is it the peripheral nerve? Is it centrally mediated? All of these questions led to indecision and frustration. It wasn’t until I took a course with Micheal Shacklock that this all started to come together.

If you haven’t heard the name Shacklock before you have been living under a rock! Micheal has dedicated his life to the study and understanding of Neurodynamics and is the worlds authority on this topic (Over 30 years of study/experience in Neurodynamics). He has the studies and understanding to know when and where Neurodynamics matter and what is important during the assessment and treatment of our patients. Micheal’s ability to sift through the scientific literature and convey that into workable tests and treatments for our patients is incredible. I left my first Neurodynamics course in a whirlwind, but with a better understanding of the anatomy of the nervous system and more importantly ideas for my patients on monday morning. The simple task of palpating the peripheral nerves to assess inflamation, size, etc. was an immediate game changer and something I use almost every day. Neurodynamics with Micheal Shacklock will change the way you think about movement and the nervous system.

What Do the Neurodynamic Tests Give Me?

Neurodynamics Shacklock Gestalt Education

Put simply, they give me everything. They provide me an audit for my derangement cases, they give me a roadmap for a dysfunction/Adherent Nerve Root (ANR) treatment, and maybe more importantly they tell me when to move on. Said another way, they tell me when the the correct treatment was administered and give me a more thorough diagnosis of complaints.

However, the differentiation that Shacklock describes during these tests is what really sets Neurodynamics apart from the rest. Being able to quickly and accurately determine if the lateral elbow pain is coming from the soft tissues or the radial nerve will save you and your patient pain and frustration. This accuracy comes from understanding the anatomy and being diligent about performing the tests as Shacklock describes with accuracy and reproducibility. It may seem easy to perform a radial nerve tension test, but until you see and feel the subtle cues, you won’t have a true appreciation for how easy it is to mess these up (100% Guilty of this).

How we utilize it

Slump Test Gestalt Education

Neurodynamics adds a very important piece to our Functional Triage. It may be a smaller portion of our patients that we use a full Neurodynamic approach, but it plays a huge role in our audit process as well as our initial patient exam. It also provides an answer to the subset of patients that do not respond well to end-range loading, stability work, etc. that we know have symptoms of nerve root irritation or other peripheral symptoms.

As described in the video at the top, utilizing the contralateral extremity to influence the side of irritation was a concept very foreign to me. This has been an absolute game changer for me when treating very acute derangements or other nerve root irritations and can provide some much needed relief for those patients that are otherwise destined for injections or oral medications to help with the pain.

We hope this gives you some insight into why Neurodynamics is so important to our model and why it sits at the top of our Functional Triage. If you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter below to stay up to date with new blogs!

Taylor Premer Gestalt Education

Dr. Taylor Premer

Dr. Taylor Premer is the co-founder of Gestalt Education and a Chiropractic Physician at Winchester Spine and Sport in Troy, MO. Dr. Premer was the president of the Motion Palpation Club at CUKC where he fell in love with teaching and learning manual/rehabilitative skills. Dr. Premer is a certified DNS exercise trainer and is versed in a multitude of manual and rehabilitative techniques including MDT, Functional Soft Tissue/Taping, Dry Needling, and Neurodynamics. Him and his fiancé Taylor enjoy exploring new coffee shops or traveling to new destinations.