All the vital functions of our body are carried out by the nervous system. The nerves in our body are categorized into three different types: autonomic nerves, motor nerves, and sensory nerves. The autonomic nerves control the voluntary functions like heartbeat, digestion, etc. The motor nerves send out signals from the brain to the rest of the body.
On the other hand, sensory nerves bring information from various parts of the body to the brain. Any kind of damage in the nerves can disrupt one or more essential functions of the body. Therefore, repairing a damaged nerve is necessary for the purpose of restoration of normal functioning of the body.
Causes and Symptoms of a Nerve Damage
Nerves may suffer damage due to several reasons. Research studies have found that one of its major cause is diabetes. This disease causes harm to all the three types of nerves, and the condition is known as diabetic neuropathy. Other diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases can also be responsible for damage in the nerves.
Sometimes, the nerves get injured during accidents, or due to overuse. Nutritional deficiency, side effects of certain medicines, stress, ingestion of toxic substances such as lead or arsenic, use of alcohol, narcotic substances, tobacco, etc., are the other possible causes that can badly affect the nerves.
The commonly observed symptoms are pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensation, weakness in muscles, paralysis, etc. Some people may also experience symptoms like dryness in eyes and mouth, excessive sweating, constipation, and bladder dysfunction.
Treatment Options to Heal the Nerve Damage
When you notice any of the symptoms of nerve damage, you should consult your doctor without delay. This is because if left untreated, it can lead to severe complications. Doctors diagnose the problem with the help of its symptoms and physical examination of the patient.
It is followed by electromyography, a nerve conduction test that determines the severity of the damage. Some of the important steps for treating this condition are as follows.
The first thing that a damaged nerve requires, is a good amount of rest. When an injured nerve is given proper rest, it gets the scope to heal up on its own, which in turn, will ensure faster recovery. Moreover, it prevents any further damage to the nerve.
Doctors usually prescribe tricyclic antidepressants medicines to provide relief from the annoying nerve pain. Other medicines that are used for this purpose are pain relieving medicines and anti-seizure medicines.
An injury where the nerve has been crushed cannot be treated with medicines. The severed nerve has to be repaired by means of surgery. It mostly involves reconnection of the disconnected end of the nerves, or, use of a donor nerve to repair the damaged portion using grafting techniques.
Treatment for the Underlying Medical Cause
Controlling blood sugar is a must for diabetic patients. They should try to keep the glucose levels in between 80 and 120 in order to alleviate symptoms of diabetic neuropathy. This can be achieved by following a low glucose diabetic diet, taking medicines on time, and maintaining a healthy body weight.
If it is a side effect of any specific medicine, then that particular medicine which is affecting the nerve is changed. In case of malnutrition, a balanced diet along with nutritional supplements; is recommended by the doctors.
Physical therapy is also a part of rehabilitation program of those patients who have undergone surgery to repair damaged nerve.
Unfortunately, there are many such cases where the damaged nerve cannot be repaired. In such cases, different methods of treatment discussed here can bring a significant improvement in the condition. Mental stress has a damaging effect on the nerves which could be permanent. Hence, it should be controlled with the help of lifestyle changes and meditation.