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This Month In Health
  • Cancer-Causing Habits
    Many people unknowingly engage in daily habits that have the potential of causing cancer. Do any of these habits describe you? If so, you may want to consider some lifestyle changes before it's too late. Read >>
  • On Your Nerves
    Nerves are responsible for all bodily functions and movements. Not sure if your pain is related to nerve damage? Here are the symptoms, causes, and treatment for nerve pain. Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

On Your Nerves

Get the facts about nerve pain.

Nerves are responsible for all bodily functions and movements. The nerves of your autonomic nervous system control things like heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure. Your motor nerves send messages from your brain and spine to move your muscles. Sensory nerves send messages from your muscles and skin to your brain and spine. It's these types of nerves that cause you to feel sensations such as pain or pressure.

Since sensory nerves are a vital part of your existence, when they cause pain the quality of your life is greatly affected. Not sure if your pain is related to nerve damage? Here are the symptoms, causes, and treatment for nerve pain.

Stabbing, Burning, Tingling

Each person's perception of nerve pain is different. Which symptoms you have and their severity depend on the type of nerve and where it's located in your body. For example, damage to your brain or spinal cord will cause worse symptoms than an injury to your peripheral nerves in the rest of your body.

Nerve pain has been described as a prickling, stabbing, burning, or tingling sensations. Sometimes it causes a sensitivity, numbness, or lack of coordination. The pain usually begins in the hands or feet and spreads up your legs and arms. Symptoms often worsen at night, making falling and staying asleep more difficult. And without enough sleep, other areas of your life begin to suffer.

When the cause of nerve pain isn't treated, it progressively worsens over time. Get proper treatment for the underlying condition and your symptoms should improve. Don’t do it soon enough, however, and you may have residual issues.

Damaged Nerves

Nerves are delicate pathways throughout the body that are easily susceptible to injury, disease, or infection. Damaged nerves send signals to the brain of pain. Sometimes the signals get lost and no pain is felt when it should be. This is the case with numbness or neuropathy.

Unfortunately, it's often difficult to determine the cause of nerve damage since there are more than 100 various types of damage and each has its own set of symptoms. In many cases, the cause of nerve pain remains unknown. Other times it's related to injury or various health conditions. Trauma or compression of nerves can lead to damage and pain. Examples of nerve damage commonly experienced include carpal tunnel syndrome and pinched nerves.
Disease is another major cause of nerve damage and resulting pain.

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, or inflammatory bowel disease can damage nerves, as can motor neuron diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. Infectious diseases including herpes, HIV, Lyme disease, or hepatitis can also harm your nerves. Today, one of the most common diseases to cause nerve damage is diabetes. As the disease progresses, sensory nerves are harmed and burning and numbness set in.

Nobody wants to hear it, but cancer is another cause of nerve damage. A mass may put pressure on nerves, the disease may cause nutritional deficits, and chemotherapy and radiation treatments may lead to damage. This leaves many in nerve pain, even after battling through successful cancer treatment.
Exposure to toxic substances such as mercury, arsenic, and lead can also harm nerves. Lastly, nerve damage can come about due to deficiencies of nutrients like vitamins B6 and B12.

Treat the Root Cause

In the event you experience unexplainable pain, make an appointment to see your doctor. The sooner the underlying condition is treated, the less likely you'll have permanent nerve damage. Have diabetes? Get your blood sugar under control. Lacking vitamins? Take the right supplements. Dealing with an autoimmune disease? Take your medications as directed.

While your nerves may never be fully healed, you can reduce your pain with medications and live a full life.

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