Nerve Damage Symptoms
Nerve Damage Symptoms and Treatment
Identifying nerve damage symptoms can be tricky business as the symptoms can affect people differently. In order for a proper diagnosis to be made, the doctor will ask about the patient’s symptoms, family history, and possibly even recommend an electromyography (EMG) test. To better understand the range of nerve damage symptoms, we are going to discuss the most common symptoms associated with nerve damage as well as the treatment options available.
The most significant symptoms are broken down into three groups based on the type of functions they affect. The first group we are going to talk about affects the body’s motor skills. The motor nerves are those which control movement based on the passing of “movement commands” from the brain to the muscles, resulting in the action being performed. These are voluntary actions that are generally premeditated.
Nerve damage symptoms that can indicate an issue with motor nerves vary, but the general indication should be a hindrance in everyday movements. Sometimes the patient’s arms and/or legs may feel heavy or be difficult to move. Gripping or picking up objects can be difficult or even impossible, as well as flexing the feet or toes. Motor nerve damage may make it difficult for a person to push buttons on the telephone or remote control due to muscle spasms, and writing legibly can be a near-impossible task. General weakness of the muscles, uncontrollable twitching or “muscle jumps”, and even paralysis can result from nerve damage to the motor nerves.
The next symptoms are ones that affect the autonomic nerves. The autonomic nerve system is responsible for controlling the functions that we usually don’t think about doing or have very little control over—things like blinking, holding in urine, breathing, digesting food, as well as pumping blood throughout the body. These functions are vital to everyday functioning and a person’s overall heath can be jeopardized when the autonomic nerves have been damaged or lost altogether.
The symptoms that may crop up when the autonomic nerves are having an issue range from minor, not-so-prominent symptoms to very obvious and intrusive issues. Smaller-scale issues include dry eyes and mouth, trouble sweating or sweating too often, and lightheadedness. More intrusive problems include loss of bladder control, sexual dysfunction, blood pressure issues including temperature regulation, and nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation due to insufficient digestion.
The third category of symptoms falls into the sensory range. Each of the body’s senses—sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch—can be impaired by damaged nerves. There are sensory nerves all over our body but damage to these nerves does not necessarily transmit signals of pain or discomfort to the brain, so detection can be more difficult. For example, damage to the nerves that transfer sounds from our ears to our brain only do that one thing—they won’t transmit pain sensory because “pain messages” are transmitted to the brain by other nerves.
It’s a little more difficult for us to detect the symptoms of diminishing sensory, especially if the nerve damage progresses slowly over a long period of time. Loss of the “touch” sensation is probably the easiest sensory failure to detect. “Pins and needles” or numbness may occur in the arms, legs, feet, or hands. Some people have even reported a burning sensation on their skin. Changes can occur in vision due to nerve damage, as can ringing in the ears.
If you believe you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. After an evaluation and testing, your doctor will be able to discern whether you are experiencing nerve damage symptoms. He or she may prescribe medication if you are in pain; however the type of treatment one receives for nerve damage largely depends upon the cause behind the damage. Diabetes, drugs, cancer, trauma, motor neuron disease, and diseases such as hepatitis C, herpes, and HIV can cause nerve damage. Physical therapy, improving nutrition, investigating drug usage, and prescription medication are just a few of the treatments doctors may use to treat the cause behind nerve damage.