How would your life be different if you could reduce nerve damage pain? Researchers estimate that approximately 20 million Americans suffer from nerve damage. And the pain can be debilitating for those people.
Nerve damage pain is a chronic condition that causes immense suffering. The good news is there are many things you can do to help reduce nerve pain and promote healing.
This nerve damage guide will teach you how to fix nerve damage. You’ll also learn exercises and lifestyle changes to help keep your nerves healthy. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about fixing nerve damage.
What Is Nerve Damage?
Nerve damage occurs when the nerves become damaged or injured. That can happen for several reasons, including compression, inflammation, or trauma. It can lead to a wide range of symptoms, depending on where the damaged nerves are.
The nerves can control a wide range of functions in the body. That means there are many potential symptoms of nerve damage. Some common nerve damage symptoms include numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, pain or cramping, and changes in sensation (such as increased sensitivity to touch).
In more severe cases, nerve damage can cause paralysis. If you experience any paralysis, it is essential to see a doctor for further evaluation.
What Causes Nerve Damage?
Nerve pain can be caused by various factors, including diabetes, injuries, autoimmune diseases, and infections. Some of the most common include:
Nerve damage can occur when the nerves are compressed or squeezed. It can happen due to various conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, herniated discs, and pinched nerves.
Nerve damage can occur when the nerves become inflamed. It can be due to conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and shingles.
Nerve damage also occurs when the nerves become injured due to an accident or injury. It can include things like cuts, bruises, and broken bones.
How Is Nerve Damage Diagnosed?
If you think you may have nerve damage, you must see a doctor as soon as possible. They can perform a physical examination and order tests to confirm the diagnosis. Some of the most common tests used to diagnose nerve damage include:
- EMG: measures the electrical activity of the muscles
- NCV: measures the speed of nerve conduction
- X-Rays: can help to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms
- CT Scan: helps identify any damage to the nerves
- MRI: helps identify any damage to the nerves
Once you get diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan. Your plan will likely include a combination of medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes.
How To Fix Nerve Damage
The best way to treat nerve damage is to catch it early and rest the area to allow the nerve to heal. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need more aggressive treatment. Some of the most common treatments include:
There are various medications used to treat nerve pain. They include over-the-counter pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.
The most common medication prescribed for nerve damage is Gabapentin. It stabilizes the electrical signals in the brain that are responsible for sending pain signals to the nervous system.
Other common medications used to treat nerve damage include tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and topical anesthetics. These medications work by blocking or numbing the pain signals sent to the brain.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Device
The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. It extends from the brainstem to the abdomen. This nerve innervates various organs, including the heart, lungs, and gut.
The vagus nerve plays a vital role in heart rate, digestion, and inflammation. Recent research suggests that vagus nerve stimulation can help treat depression and anxiety.
In some cases, vagus nerve stimulation may treat nerve damage with significant effects. The vagus nerve is one of the twelve cranial nerves, and it runs from the brainstem down to the abdomen.
Vagus nerve stimulation has proven to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain. It is a safe and well-tolerated treatment.
A vagus nerve stimulation device works by sending electrical impulses to the vagus nerve, which then sends signals to the brain. VNS is a treatment that implants a device under the skin, like a pacemaker. The device regularly delivers electrical impulses to the vagus nerve (usually once daily).
When you have nerve damage, there is often a reduction in blood flow and movement to the area. It can lead to inflammation, swelling, and pain. Physical therapy can help to improve blood flow and movement to the affected area, which will help to reduce those symptoms.
Physical therapy has many other benefits that can help improve the quality of life for those with nerve damage. Other benefits of physical therapy include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Reduced inflammation.
- Enhanced range of motion and mobility
- Improved strength and endurance
- Reduced pain
Physical therapy is like exercise because it can help to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation. But physical therapy is often more focused on improving the range of motion and mobility in the affected areas.
Making lifestyle changes can also help to reduce nerve pain and promote healing. Common changes include quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol.
There are a few other lifestyle changes that can help treat nerve damage:
Exercise can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. It is essential to start slowly and increase the intensity as tolerated.
- Improves blood circulation, which can help to bring nutrients and oxygen to the nerves.
- Promote the growth of new neurons and support the regeneration of damaged nerve cells
- Reduce inflammation and swelling around the nerves
We recommend you consult a physical therapist or doctor before starting any exercise program.
Eat a Healthy Diet Full of Nutritious Foods
Eating well will help ensure that your body has everything it needs to support optimal nerve health. Choose foods rich in vitamins and minerals, and avoid processed foods.
Reduce Stress Levels as Much as Possible
Stress is infamous for its negative impact on nerve health. It can increase inflammation and make nerve pain worse.
A warm bath, for example, is an excellent option to release stress. It can reduce stress, relax muscles, and temporarily relieve pain from nerve damage.
Get Enough Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have a chance to repair the damage that has occurred during the day. Lack of sleep can lead to further nerve damage and pain.
Practice Relaxation Techniques Like Yoga or Meditation
Stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce stress levels and improve nerve health.
They switch your nervous system from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode. Yoga also stimulates the vagus nerve, which can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
If traditional treatment methods are not working, acupuncture may be an option. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. It is thought to stimulate the nervous system and help to reduce pain.
Acupuncture may be an effective treatment for nerve damage. But we need more research to confirm it.
In some cases, nerve damage can be severe enough to need surgery. Physicians usually only recommend it if other treatments have failed.
Different types of surgery may be required depending on the location and severity of the nerve damage. For example, neurosurgery may be necessary if the damage is in the brain or spinal cord.
Suppose the damage is in the peripheral nervous system (including all nerves outside the brain and spinal cord). In that case, your doctor may suggest a procedure called microsurgical nerve repair.
What Happens If You Don’t Treat Nerve Damage?
If you don’t treat nerve damage quickly, it can cause the nerve to die. This is called necrosis, which means the tissue around the nerve dies.
If the nerve doesn’t get any time to rest and heal, it can become inflamed. Inflammation can cause more damage to the nerve and make it harder for it to heal in a healthy way.
Don’t continue using the damaged nerve (for example, using your hand even though it hurts). Doing so can cause more damage and make the healing process take longer. If you have nerve damage, get treatment and follow your physician’s instructions.
Fixing Nerve Damage is Possible With Proper Treatment
That’s a lot of information about how to fix nerve damage, but we hope you found it helpful. If you have nerve damage, we recommend you consult a doctor or physical therapist to discuss your treatment options.
We have plenty of resources to help you understand this condition and what you can do to improve your quality of life. If you enjoyed this article, check out our related content to learn more techniques to improve your quality of life.