14/07/2021 / Health and Fitness

Spotting and Serving Signs of Nerve Damage

More than a hundred different types of nervous tissue damage are witnessed in the human body. In addition, these damages may have different types of symptoms and may also require different types of treatment. Some of them are discussed below.

Spotting and Serving Signs of Nerve Damage
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Content

Introduction

The human body's nervous system is generally involved in everything the body does, i.e., starting from regulating the breath to controlling different types of muscles and sensing the heat and cold from the outer world.

3 Types of Nerve

There are basically 3 types of nerve found in the human body. These are:

1. Autonomic Nerves. These nerves generally control the body's involuntary or partially voluntary activities, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.

2. Motor Nerves. These nerves control the body's movements and actions by passing information from the brain and spinal cord to the muscles.

3. Sensory Nerves. These nerves transfer information from the skin and muscles back to the spinal cord and brain. The information is then processed to let the person experience pain and other sensations.

  • Nerves are critical to carrying out all the activities in the body. Nerve pain and damage can deteriorate the quality of life of a person.

8 Causes of Nerve Damage or Nerve Pain

  • More than a hundred different types of nervous tissue damage are witnessed in the human body.  These damages may have different types of symptoms and may also require different types of treatment.

  • The nerve damage becomes increasingly common with age. For example, up to 70% of people with diabetes have some type of nerve damage.

 The following diseases/complications are some of the probable causes of nerve pain and nerve damage in the body. They are:

1. Autoimmune diseases. Different kinds of autoimmune diseases can produce symptoms of nerve pain and also nerve damage. These diseases include multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome- a rare condition in which the immune system attacks its peripheral nerves, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

2. Cancer. Cancer can cause severe nerve pain and nerve damage in a variety of ways. In some cases, the cancerous masses may push against or crush the nerves. In some other cases, certain types of cancer in the body may also result in nutritional deficiencies that can affect nerve function. In addition, some types of chemotherapy and radiation can lead to nerve pain and nerve damage in some people.

3. Compression/trauma. Anything which leads to trauma or compression in the nerves can also lead to nerve pain and nerve damage. These injuries may include crush injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and pinched nerves in the neck.

4. Diabetes. About 70% of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage, becoming more common as the disease progresses. Diabetic neuropathy is a severe complication, and this may affect all three types of neurons. However, sensory nerves are the most often affected, which causes burning or numbness of various body parts. If a person has diabetes and is also experiencing nerve pain or nerve damage, they should always consult a health care expert as soon as possible. 

5. Side effects of drugs and toxic substances. Various substances are taken into the body intentionally or unintentionally by the person and can cause nerve pain and nerve damage. These include medications and drugs such as some chemotherapy for cancer and certain medicines used to treat HIV. In addition, chronic alcohol and drug use is a common cause of nerve pain and nerve damage. Toxic substances which may be taken up accidentally, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury, can also cause damage to the nerves. 

6. Motor neuron diseases. The motor neurons are the nerves present in the brain and the spinal cord that helps to communicate with the muscles throughout your body. Diseases that affect these nerves include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, resulting in progressive nerve damage. 

Major Causes of Nerve Damage

7. Nutritional deficiencies. Deficiencies of certain nutrients in the body, including vitamins B6 and B12, may produce nerve pain and nerve damage symptoms, including weakness or burning sensations in the body. Nutritional deficiencies that can cause nerve damage may also result from excessive alcohol intake.

8. Infectious disease. Certain infectious diseases also can affect the nerves in the body. These conditions may include Lyme disease, herpes viruses, HIV, as well as hepatitis C. 

7 Symptoms of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage generally has a wide array of symptoms. The person may have differences depending on the location and type of nerves affected in the body. Damage can occur in the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. This can also arise in the body's peripheral nerves, which are located throughout the human body.

1. Not being able to sense chest pain, such as angina or having a heart attack.

2. Too much sweating, which is known as hyperhidrosis, or too little sweating known as anhidrosis

3. Having Lightheadedness

4. Dry eyes and mouth of the patient

5. Having Constipation

6. Bladder dysfunction of the person

Sexual Dysfunction

7. Having Sexual dysfunction

4 Symptoms of Motor Nerves Damage

4 Symptoms of Motor Nerves Damage

1. Weakness in the body

2. Having muscle atrophy

3. Twitching of muscles which is also known as fasciculation

4. Paralysis in the body

6 Symptoms of Sensory Nerve Damage

1. Tingling and numbness in the limbs of the person.

2. Feeling like wearing a tight glove or sock in the hands or feet

3. Muscle weakness in the body, especially in arms or legs

4. Regularly dropping objects that they are holding

5. Sharp pains in hands, arms, legs, as well as feet

6. A buzzing sensation in the body which feels like a mild electrical shock given to the body

  • There may also be problems with positional awareness of the person.

  • In some cases, people who are having nerve damage will develop symptoms that can indicate nerve damage to different types of nerves in the body. For instance, the person might experience weakness and burning of your legs at the same time.

5 Effective Treatments of Nerve Pain and Nerve Damage

  • In many cases, nerve damage cannot be cured entirely. But various treatments can also reduce the symptoms in the body. Nerve damage is often progressive, so it is essential to consult with a doctor when the individual first notices the above symptoms. In that way, the person can reduce the likelihood of permanent nerve damage in his/her body.

  • Often, the first goal of treating nerve damage is to address the underlying conditions causing nerve pain or nerve damage in the person.

This may include:

1. Managing the blood sugar levels for people suffering from diabetes

2. Correcting the nutritional deficiencies of the person

3. Changing medications of the drugs that are causing nerve damage to the body.

4. Surgery or physical therapy to address compression or trauma to the nerves of the body

5. Medications to treat the autoimmune conditions in the body. Additionally, the doctor may also prescribe medications to minimize the nerve pain the individual is feeling. These medications include:

3 Analgesics for Relieving Nerve Pain

1. Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline and desipramine (Norpramin), as well as other antidepressants which may include duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

2. Certain anti-seizure drugs can be prescribed, which may include Neurontin (Gabapentin), pregabalin (Lyrica)

3. Capsaicin cream

6 Alternative Approaches for Alleviating Nerve Pain

1. Treatment through Acupuncture

2. By using Biofeedback

3. Hypnosis

4. Doing Meditation

5. Taking in Antioxidant vitamins

6. Medication with Electrical nerve stimulation such as TENS

  • Nerve damage is mainly thought of as a complication of diabetes by most people, but it can also result in severe injury. Nerve damage is also commonly known as peripheral neuropathy. The nerves which are the most likely to be damaged tend to be the nerves in arms, feet, and hands, although other parts of the body may also be affected.

  • When a person is injured or does have surgery, some of the nerves no longer get the signal from the brain to transmit sensation. Sometimes the nerves which are only partially damaged can also heal by themselves without any help or medications.

Word of Wisdom

  • Damaged nerves can also sometimes be repaired, especially if they are treated quickly after an injury has occurred. For that reason, it's essential to treat the person immediately after a severe injury or when the individual first notices the signs of nerve damage in his/her body. However, this is a situation in which a person should not wait too long because sometimes nerves reach a point of being irreparable. 

  • Once the nerve has been repaired through various types of treatment or medication, the individual can also expect the sensation to come back gradually throughout a couple of months or years. The nerves can generally heal and regenerate even once they have been damaged after being adequately repaired. In this situation, the only thing a person can do is to have patience and take proper care and medications to the body.


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