Nerves transport messages but also a variety of substances to muscles, joints, skin and every organ in the body. They can also be a source of pain themselves, just like any other body part. When their health is altered by injury, pressure, lack of oxygen or inflammation, they become less tolerant to flexing and sensitive to movement and pressure.
Systematic Review Research findings have shown efficacy in this for plantar heel pain, neck and low back / sciatic pain [1-2]. Other benefits have been associated with these techniques, but more research will be needed.
What do these techniques do? Aside from relief of pain, effects on swelling, inflammation and tenderness, there is a benefit on flexibility. Often what is felt by people as muscle tightness is actually the muscle tensing to protect the sensitive nerve. This may be a good thing but may suggest an unhealthy nerve that requires careful handling and treatment. Laboratory research findings suggest there may be positive anti-inflammatory effects as well and this is undergoing more research.
 Basson A, Olivier B, Ellis R, Coppieters M, Stewart A, Mudzi A 2017 The effectiveness of neural mobilization for neuromusculoskeletal conditions: a systematic review and meta- analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 47 (9): 593-615.
 Neto T, Freitas S, Marques M, Gomes, L, Andrade R 2018 Effects of lower body quadrant neural mobilisation in healthy and low back pain populations: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice 27: 14-22.