Symptoms of non-diabetic nerve damage depend on the nerve-injured and the injury severity and type, but the most common include weakness, numbness, and pain. Nerve damage can improve without treatment, but in some cases, nerve injuries need to be repaired medically.
Non-Diabetic Causes of Nerve DamageNerve damage that’s not caused by diabetes can have a range of causes, including:
• Traumatic injuries
• Peripheral neuropathies caused by autoimmune and other diseases, including hypothyroidism, kidney or liver disease, and connective tissue disorders
• Infections like Lyme disease or shingles
• Inherited disorders like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
• Cancerous and noncancerous tumors that develop on or against the nerves
• Bone marrow disorders, including myeloma and lymphoma
• Exposure to toxic substances, including heavy metals like lead and mercury
• Some medications
• Vitamin deficiencies, particularly the B vitamins and vitamin E
Complications of nerve damage can include infections, falls, and skin trauma due to a lack of sensation.
Medical Solutions for Nerve Damage
Different treatments are used for different types and locations of nerve damage. For nerves that are believed to be repairable, treatment may include surgeries to decompress the nerve, repair the nerve, or conduct a nerve graft. A severed nerve typically requires a nerve autograft, which involves removing a nerve from somewhere else in the body and grafting it to close the ends of the severed nerve.
When a nerve is damaged beyond repair, a tendon transfer can help people regain use of critical muscles. In this procedure, tendons are transferred from one muscle to another. This can restore function to arms, hands, and fingers.
Nerve Allograft: The Latest in Nerve Repair
Recent breakthroughs in nerve repair techniques have led to a new treatment for severed nerves. Known as a nerve allograft, this treatment uses nerves harvested from human cadavers. Microsurgical techniques are used to remove the damaged areas of the nerve, and the nerve graft is inlaid to reconnect the damaged nerve tissues and act as a conduit to allow the fibers of the nerve to regrow. Nerve allografts offer better results and fewer side effects than a nerve autograft.
However, since nerve fibers grow slowly, the best-case scenario is that a repaired nerve will grow about one inch each month after surgery. It can take several months for a nerve to complete its growth, and that means that it can also take time for muscles to begin functioning better. During the healing period, people may experience numbness, pain, or tingling around the healing nerve, but these should gradually subside as the nerve grows back.
Prevention is Key for Optimal Nerve Health
In many cases, nerve damage will improve over time without treatment, but it can take time. Here are some things you can do to promote healing and improve the health and function of all your nerves.
Manage medical conditions. Visit your doctor regularly, and keep medical conditions like arthritis, alcoholism, and diabetes managed and under control.
Eat a healthy diet. Consume a diet that consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Eat lean meats, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products in moderation to protect against a vitamin B deficiency.
Exercise daily. Regular exercise improves your overall health, including your nerve health, and it keeps your bones and muscles strong.
Avoid exposure to toxins. Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and reduce heavy drug and alcohol use.
Keep it ergonomic. Don’t sit or work in cramped positions that put pressure on your nerves, and try to avoid repetitive motions to protect your nerves against damage.
Take a supplement. A number of natural nutrients and substances have been shown through research to improve your nerve function and health. Nerveology’s Nerve Support Complex contains 21 powerful pain-relieving and nerve-repairing ingredients, including R-alpha lipoic acid, turmeric curcumin, and spirulina blue-green algae.
The better you take care of your overall health, the healthier and more resilient your nerves will be. Once damage occurs, medical interventions can get you on the road to recovery, but recovery can last a long time. Preventive measures and a healthy lifestyle can improve nerve function, reduce pain and numbness, and promote health and healing.