Nerve damage can result from autoimmune diseases, motor neuron disease, cancer, infections, or diabetes. This problem can also be caused by acute or progressive injury, or nutritional deficiencies. Treatment of nerve damage varies according to whether the nerve is compressed, partially injured, or severed.
Method 1 of 4: Repairing Minor Nerve Damage
Step 1. Be patient
A compressed or severed nerve can heal itself over time. Nerves beyond the point of damage will die so that the part between the nerve endings that are still healthy will regenerate.
A pinched nerve can result from a number of things, including poor posture, injury, arthritis, spinal stenosis, and/or obesity
Step 2. Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or paracetamol
These drugs should only be used for occasional acute pain relief and not for more than two weeks, unless recommended by a doctor.
- NSAIDs can treat swelling and inflammation of the nerves, while paracetamol can only treat the pain.
- Make sure these medicines do not interact with other medicines. For example, avoid taking aspirin at the same time as blood-thinning medications.
- Long-term use of NSAIDs can cause gastritis and peptic ulcers. Be careful when using drugs.
Step 3. Try physical therapy
If the nerve is pinched, and not severed, physical therapy is often used to repair the damage and increase its strength and mobility. Consult physical therapy with a doctor.
- Some insurance companies do not cover the cost of physical therapy. So, make sure in advance whether the cost of physical therapy is covered by your insurance company.
- You may need to wait a few weeks or months after an acute injury before starting physical therapy. Your nerves may take time to heal and grow back.
- Try no-weight exercises in the pool to overcome movement problems on the ground. Once your stamina builds up, try strength training and weight training.
Step 4. Get acupuncture therapy
Some patients experience the benefits of acupuncture to calm the nerves and restore normal body function while the nerves heal themselves.
- Biofeedback therapy is also beneficial. You can use this technique to control body functions. Your body will be connected to electronic sensors that will help you focus and relax.
- Unfortunately, neither acupuncture nor biofeedback costs are generally covered by insurance companies.
Method 2 of 4: Repairing Moderate Nerve Damage
Step 1. Have an electromyography (EMG) or nerve conduction test
With this test, the location of nerve damage and its severity can be determined. Your doctor may also recommend a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test.
Some of these tests, such as the EMG, can be done in a GP clinic. However, more invasive tests such as an MRI may only be performed in a hospital or specialist clinic
Step 2. Consider injections to numb the nerves
If your doctor tells you that the damage to the nerves is not long-term, you may be able to use an injection of a steroid called a nerve root block. This injection is usually given by an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain therapy. Steroids can help the body recover more quickly from nerve damage.
Step 3. Consider minor surgery
Some nerve damage results from compression or pinching. Minor outpatient surgery is often sufficient to repair this type of damage. Surgical criteria included symptoms such as radiculopathy, evidence of nerve root compression based on MRI tests, nerve pain lasting more than 6 weeks, and progressive motor weakness.
- Minor surgery can include arthroscopic surgery to open the pinched nerve or connect damaged nerve endings.
- Another minor surgery is nerve release which can help with nerve compression such as in carpal tunnel syndrome. In this surgery, the tissue around the nerve may be split open to loosen the nerve, or the nerve may be moved to a new location.
Step 4. Undergo neuro-reeducation therapy
The nerves may need to be retrained with special physical therapy like this one. Neuro-reeducation therapy generally has two stages, initial and advanced. This is the process of "teaching" the nerves to return to normal sensations.
- The initial stage of this therapy aims to ensure the nerves can feel a variety of different sensations. While the next stage aims to adjust the sensation that can be felt.
- This therapy is generally an outpatient therapy. The duration of the session is determined by the severity of the injury. But generally, it takes a long time because basically in this therapy the body will be trained back to its normal function.
Method 3 of 4: Repairing Severe Nerve Damage
Step 1. Seek medical attention
Visit the emergency department immediately if you experience an acute injury with numbness or tingling in your limbs. If your body is cut by a sharp object, try to control the bleeding while heading to the emergency room.
- Nerve damage from a kitchen knife cut or broken glass is quite common.
- Visit the emergency department if you are exposed to lead, arsenic, mercury, or other toxic compounds. These toxic compounds must be removed from the body before the nerve repair process begins.
Step 2. Consider a nerve graft surgery
If the nerve is severed completely, surgery may be needed to repair it. If the surgery is successful, the nerves will recover and grow about 2.5 cm each month.
Nerve grafting surgery often requires the removal of nerve fibers from other parts of the body. The area will be numb after the operation
Step 3. Retrain your body
The body will generally go through four phases in the repair of nerve damage. In this process, cells must recover and adapt well enough to send signals to the brain.
- For that, physical therapy may be needed. Professional therapists will help you practice the movements gradually so that your body can recover properly.
- This may take some time. Nerve repair is not completed overnight. It may take you weeks, months, or even years to recover. In severe cases, nerve function may not return to perfection. Your doctor should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take to recover from a particular injury.
Method 4 of 4: Understanding Nerve Damage
Step 1. Recognize the symptoms and pain of nerve damage
There are several signs and symptoms of nerve damage. If you experience any of these, you should contact your doctor.
- Pain or tingling in the arms, legs, fingers, or toes.
- Loss of control of muscles. As a result, the muscles become weak. If you're having trouble with daily activities like buttoning your clothes, or turning doorknobs, this may be a sign of nerve damage.
- Difficulty digesting food. These symptoms may be accompanied by feelings of bloating or fullness. You may vomit partially digested food, or have difficulty passing urine.
- Peripheral neuropathy affects the brain's ability to receive pain signals from nerves.. This disorder is common, and symptoms include pain or numbness in the limbs. You may feel tingling or burning in your arms or legs, which are early signs of nerve damage.
Step 2. Call your pharmacist if you have started taking a new medication recently
Some drugs, especially those aimed at treating cancer and HIV, are known to cause nerve damage in some patients.
Step 3. Visit a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have a disease that causes nerve damage. These diseases include diabetes, cancer, alcoholism, and autoimmune diseases. Nerve damage should be included in the disease treatment plan.
Step 4. Call a specialist
Call your doctor to plan an emergency checkup if your illness or problem progresses to tingling or numbness. This symptom is a sign of a pinched nerve or nerve damage. In some situations, emergency surgery may be recommended.
Step 5. Consult medicine with doctor
Consult about the use of tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants to reduce nerve pain. These drugs are used in patients with chronic nerve pain to block pain signals to the brain. Be sure to talk about the side effects of long-term use of the drug.