Our nerves are fragile but wonderful sensory structures present all around our body. They work to send pain messages to the brain and hence are the reason we feel pain when we hurt ourselves (yes, also why nerve blockers are used to temporarily stop pain). When the nervous system is damaged, problems with transmitting messages and signals to the brain can occur. This means we can begin feeling pain and other symptoms even when there is no stimulus or reason for us to do so.
So, what causes the damage to our nervous system?
Damage to the nervous system is usually caused by either injury or disease. Injury can include trauma, such as getting hit in an area that compresses and damages the nerves. It can also include poor posture, because of the strain placed on the nerves repetitively over time. Disease includes conditions like diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, shingles and many more. It can also occur from treatments such as chemotherapy and surgery, as well as alcoholism.
Identifying the exact causes is an important part of the management process, so we highly recommend coming in for an assessment.
What do nerve symptoms feel like?
Think of weird and unusual symptoms and it may just be nerve pain. These often include tingling or pins and needles. Others include:
Shooting pain that feels like electricity
Weakness in the affected areas
Pain that comes on with no noticeable stimulus, even at night in bed
How can physiotherapists help nerve pain?
Nerve pain can occur for many different reasons. The key to treating nerves is having the right diagnosis and understanding contributing factors. These may include smoking and sugar which have a high correlation in de-myelination of the nerve and altering sensation especially in the feet. Posterior disc protrusion your lumbar spine or neck can cause numbness down your arm or leg and is usually highly correlated with poor posture or repetitive movements at work. We also then see changes in nerve function in patients with cerebral palsy affecting motor control and movement coming from the brain. These are just a few key ones to be named. We work hard on having the right diagnosis so can get the right treatment or be referred to the right practitioner for ongoing management.