Nerve damage can cause a lot of discomfort and pain and it becomes essential to get rid of it as soon as possible. To know about the possible treatment options of nerve damage, read the paragraphs below.
The human body has basically three types of nerves, viz. autonomic nerves, motor nerves and sensory nerves. These nerves have different functions in our body. The autonomic nerves control the involuntary functions of our body, like heart rate and blood pressure. The motor nerves control the voluntary functions like appendage movements. The sensory nerves, as the name suggests, help to pass along the sensations to the brain and central nervous system. Now, you can very well imagine the ill effects of nerve damage on your system and body.
There are basically 3 types of nerve injury. In neurapraxia, the conduction of nerve impulse gets disrupted and it occurs due to nerve compression or lack of proper blood flow. Axonotmesis occurs in crash injuries. The axons of nerves get damaged and this injury may cause paralysis. Neurotmesis occurs due to extreme tear, stretch, bruising or anesthetic toxicity. In extreme cases, such injuries can cause complete loss of nerve function. The recovery from all types of nerve injuries is possible depending upon the severity and extent of damage done.
Causes of Nerve Damage
Nerve Compression: Nerve compression and trauma like pinched nerve, crush injury, carpal tunnel syndrome are responsible for pain and damage of nerves.
Autoimmune Diseases: Many autoimmune diseases like lupus, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis are responsible for nerve damage.
Diabetes: Diabetic neuropathy is a condition where the neurons of all three types are affected, but mostly sensory neurons are damaged causing numbness and loss of sensation. The condition should be brought to the notice of a doctor immediately.
Cancer: It can affect the nerves in multiple ways, causing damage. A cancerous growth can crush the nerves and the chemical and radiation treatments used to treat cancer can also affect the nerves in a bad way causing pain and damage.
Infection: Certain infections caused by herpes virus, HIV, hepatitis C, etc., can affect the nerves’ functions and can cause damage as well.
Side effects of Drugs and Toxicity: Certain medication and drugs taken in high doses can affect the nerves. Even toxic substances like lead, mercury, etc., on accidental ingestion, have the potential to damage nerves.
Neuron Diseases: Diseases that affect the neurons or their functioning, like amylotropic lateral sclerosis, cause damage to a great extent as they directly affect the nerves.
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
The signs of nerve damage vary from one person to another depending upon which nerve type has been affected. If it is motor nerve, there may be muscle twitching, muscle atrophy, weakness and a severe case may even result in paralysis. In case of sensory nerve damage, the most common symptoms are tingling, pain, numbness, burning and loss of sensation. When autonomic nerves are affected, the symptoms can be constipation, bladder dysfunction, lightheadedness, hyperhidrosis and dry eyes and mouth. Sometimes when more than on type of neurons have been affected, you may experience mixed symptoms of nerve damage.
Treatment for Nerve Damage
Nerve damage repair, in most cases, cannot be done entirely but there are ways to minimize the damage and pain caused by it. Firstly, the cause of nerve damage is determined and accordingly, the treatments would vary.
For the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, the patients have to follow a strict diet and exercise regimen to control the blood glucose levels. Taking medication and insulin, to control the condition and to avoid further damage is also necessary. In case of drug induced damage, the doctors generally prescribe change of medication. The medications can alter the nerve’s functions and cause damage, but you are advised to not do any changes without consulting the doctor. Medications are also given to cure infection and autoimmune diseases. Such medicines help to improve the condition.
If you are suffering from nerve pain as well, your doctor may prescribe you pain relievers that may be different for different patients and sometimes, antidepressants are also recommended. For diabetic patients specially, FDA approved specific medications are given for pain relief. Apart from these, physical therapy may be recommended to deal with nerve compression and trauma. Acupuncture, hypnosis and meditation may also be given for long term healing and relief.
If you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms or have undergone trauma and pain, do consult a doctor as soon as possible. Often, nerve damage is a progressive condition and the earlier you opt for a treatment, the better it is. I hope this information on nerve damage treatment was informative. Take care!