May 15, 2009

Treatment For Nerve Damage

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Your nervous system is responsible for all the functions of your body. From controlling your breathing to moving your muscles, your nerves are involved. Damage or injury to the nervous system can therefore result in a wide array of symptoms and can significantly affect the quality of your life. Depending on the underlying cause of the nerve damage, the extent of the injury and the area of the damage, different types of nerve damage treatment may help alleviate symptoms and reduce the effects of the condition.

  • Before deciding on the proper course of treatment, the underlying cause of the nerve damage has to be diagnosed. For example, if diabetes is the cause for the nerve damage, the first goal of treatment is to regulate blood sugar levels. Conditions such as malnutrition need to be countered with a balanced and healthy diet while autoimmune deficiencies that may result in nerve damage respond well to medications or physical therapy.
  • Doctors may also prescribe medications such as painkillers, certain anti-seizure drugs or tricyclic antidepressants to alleviate symptoms such as pain, muscle weakness and depression. While medication may help alleviate the pain, it will not bring back the loss of feeling caused by the nerve damage. There are also side effects and complications that may result from over use or long-term use of such drugs. These include drowsiness, dizzy spells, loss of appetite and constipation. Speak to your doctor about using the lowest dose possible to avoid such side effects.
  • There are a number of alternative or complementary therapies that may help alleviate pain such as acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnosis or meditation. Before starting any of these treatments, it is best to consult with your doctor first.
  • Peripheral neuropathy can cause muscle weakness and restrict a person’s ability to move. In such cases, physical or occupational therapy may be recommended to strengthen muscles and improve mobility.
  • Patients with peripheral neuropathy may be prescribed transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS. A TENS unit uses an electric current on the damaged or injured nerves to activate the nerves and provide pain relief. A TENS unit can be self-administered and the patient can apply a current to the affected areas several times a day if needed.
  • According to the latest study from the Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Queen Mary, University of London, omega-3 fatty acids might play an important role in the treatment and regeneration of damaged nerves. According to this research, when people suffer from damaged and injured nerves, they also experience symptoms such as weakness, muscle fatigue, pain, and paralysis. These symptoms can slow down the healing and recovery process significantly. Omega-3 fatty acids can help speed up the healing process by protecting nerve cells and preventing nerve death. While more studies are needed before any conclusions are reached, the initial findings on the role of omega-3 fatty acids on peripheral nerve damage are very encouraging
  • Counseling or therapy may also help cope with the condition and pain management. Check with your doctor or clinic for support groups and other organizations that can help with more information about the condition.
  • Besides pain, symptoms such as low blood pressure, fainting spells, and frequent urination caused by nerve damage can be treated with medications. Changes such as sleeping with your head elevated or wearing elastic stockings can help with low blood pressure, while pelvic floor exercises may help reduce the need to urinate frequently. For severe cases, a urinary catheter may be necessary.
  • Nerve damage can also be treated with surgery. Types of surgery include nerve regeneration surgery, nerve grafting, nerve transfers, or nerve decompression. Other procedures that may help reduce the debilitating symptoms of nerve damage include tendon transfers and muscle transplants.