Nerves are essential to healthy physical functioning; they carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body, making muscles move and allowing us to feel heat, pressure, and pain. Nerves are comprised of a bundle of small fibers, encased by an insulating, protective outer layer. The fibers carry the messages to the brain; when nerves are damaged, these messages are interrupted, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness. Nerves can be damaged by an excess of pressure, by stretching out, or as the result of a deep cut. When an excess of pressure is applied consistently for a prolonged period of time, conditions such as carpal tunnel are liable to occur. When a nerve is mildly stretched, it may result in a mild, short-term injury – one that will resolve on its own. If a nerve is stretched a great deal, it may result in a more serious, long-term injury – one that requires professional medical treatment. When a nerve is cut, it can no longer send vital signals to the brain. The type of injury and the severity of the nerve damage will dictate what type of intervention is necessary.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
Because there are so many nerves within the human body, the symptoms of nerve damage vary significantly. The symptoms that you experience will depend heavily on the location of the affected nerves. In general, three main categories of nerves may be affected – sensory nerves, autonomic nerves, or motor nerves. If you suffer sensory nerve damage, you may experience:
- Increased sensitivity
- Burning or tingling sensations in affected areas
- Issues with positional awareness
If your autonomic nerves undergo damage, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Changes in sweat patterns (sweating excessively or not sweating at all)
- Bladder dysfunction
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Inability to sense issues involving chest pain (such as the onset of a heart attack)
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
If motor nerves are damaged, the following symptoms may occur:
- Fasciculation (commonly known as twitching)
- Increased muscle weakness
- Eventual muscle atrophy
Treatment for Nerve Damage
Nerves within the peripheral nervous system will often heal themselves over a short period of time; however, in many cases, nerve damage can never be entirely repaired. Fortunately, there are many treatment methods designed to greatly reduce symptoms. If nerve damage is related to diabetes, regulating blood sugar levels may work to reduce nerve damage, in turn reducing pain levels. Nerve damage can also be prevented and controlled by changes to diet, increased physical activity, and physical therapy. Many have also experienced decreased pain by making changes in medication (some medications can cause nerve damage). While certain medications can be used to prevent pain associated with nerve damage, there are also many conservative, alternative methods of treatment.
How Comprehensive Pain of the Palm Beaches Heals Nerve Damage
When treating nerve damage and related pain, we first look into all conservative treatment options. These may include physical therapy, acupuncture, meditation, and therapeutic techniques like biofeedback. If such methods of treatment prove ineffective, we may treat nerve damage using pharmaceutical intervention. Certain medications, such as pain relievers, specific anti-seizure drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to greatly reduce pain related to nerve damage. We will determine the best course of treatment for your specific case, and develop a personalized plan of recovery based on your symptoms and medical history.
If you are suffering from nerve damage, we can help. Call (561) 434-7577 and let the caring staff at Comprehensive Pain of the Palm Beaches get you on the path to healing.