Nerve Damage: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Your nervous system is also responsible in everything that your body does. From sense of touch (Sensory Nerves) to governing actions and movements (Motor Nerves) to controlling involuntary body functions such as blood pressure, digestion, heart rate, and temperature regulation (Autonomic Nerves), the nerves play a very important role in your body functions.

What is a Nerve Damage?

Nerve damage is any kind of injury no matter how mild or severe it might be. There three main forms of nerve damage. These are: Neurotmesis, Axonotmesis, and Neurapraxia.

  • Neurotmesis – Most severe form of nerve damage, resulting to complete loss of nerve function.
  • Axonotmesis – Less severe form of nerve damage, resulting from crush or too much pressure from injuries.
  • Neurapraxia – Mildest form of nerve damage, allowing complete recovery within just days, weeks, or months.

Causes of Nerve Damage

There are at least 100 types of damage to the nerves, and these have various causes. However, most nerve damage cases are more common with age and in people with diabetes. Other possible causes may also include:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome where immune system attacks peripheral nerves
  • Cancer
  • Trauma/Compression
  • Toxic substances and Drug side-effects (i.e. medications such as chemotherapy; toxic substances such as mercury, lead, arsenic, etc)
  • Infectious diseases (i.e. HIV, Hepatitis C, etc.)
  • Motor-Neuron diseases (i.e. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)
  • Nutritional deficiencies including Vitamins B6 and B12 deficiency

Symptoms of a Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can have various symptoms, depending on the location and the type of affected nerves. (note: Nerve damage may occur in ANY part of your body including your brain, your spinal cord, and etc.)

Sensory nerve damage symptoms:

  • pain 
  • numbness 
  • sensitivity
  • burning sensation
  • tingling sensation
  • problems with positional awareness

Motor nerve damage symptoms:

  • muscle atrophy
  • twitching 
  • weakness
  • paralysis

Autonomic nerve damage symptoms:

  • dry eyes and mouth
  • sexual dysfunction
  • inability to feel chest pain (stroke)
  • too little/too much sweating
  • bladder dysfunction
  • lightheadedness
  • constipation

Treatment for Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can't be entirely cured in most cases. However, there are number of treatments that can possibly reduce its symptoms which are:

  • pain relievers
  • tricyclic anti-depressant drugs
  • anti-seizure drugs

In many instances, your doctor may prescribe treatment for underlying diseases that may cause nerve damage. Goals of these treatments include:

  • regulating your blood sugar level (if you have diabetes)
  • correcting your nutritional deficiencies
  • changing your medications (if it's causing nerve damage)
  • surgery or physical therapy for nerve compression/trauma
  • providing medications (for autoimmune diseases)

Alternative medicines that repairs nerve damage are also considered as one of the best approaches that greatly helps in alleviating pain and discomfort on the affected area(s).