3 Types of Nerve Damage

3 Types of Nerve Damage

If you find that your hands and/or feet are feeling prickly or numb, or you get unexplained stabs of pain in your toes or other parts of your body, you could be experiencing side effects of neuropathy, or nerve damage. This is common in people with spinal injuries or diabetes, due to nerve systems being compromised. 

The Cell Bionics Institute has two locations, in Sterling, Virginia and Utica, New York. At both locations, Dr. Nameer Haider provides leading-edge treatment for neuropathy. Here’s what you need to know about the three different types of nerve damage.

Neuropathy basics

Peripheral neuropathy affects the peripheral nervous system — the outlying nerves that send sensory information back and forth between the central nervous system (spine and brain) and the rest of your body.

When these nerves are damaged, they send the wrong signals. This can cause tingling, numbness, or pain, often starting furthest away from the central nervous system (in the hands and feet) and working their way inward. 

Many people have neuropathy of multiple nerves, although it’s possible for just one nerve to be affected or only the nerves on one side of the body. Neuropathy can sometimes resolve on its own, but if the nerve damage is permanent, you may need ongoing treatment to control the symptoms.

The three types of nerve damage

Different nerves control different functions in the body. Your treatment plan and outlook will be different depending on the type of nerves that are damaged.

1. Sensory nerves

Sensory nerves register and send feelings of touch, temperature, or pain. These are the most commonly damaged nerves, because they’re made up of fibers protected by a myelin sheath. When the sheath is damaged, the sensory nerves aren’t protected, and they start interpreting sensations inaccurately. You might feel numbness when you should feel pain from an injury, or pain when you should feel only a light touch.

2. Motor nerves

Motor nerves are used consciously to control the movement of your muscles. You use your brain to tell your muscles to walk, talk, chew, grab, and lift. Symptoms of motor nerve damage include muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping.   

3. Autonomic nerves 

Autonomic nerves control activities that your body does automatically, like organ function. When these are damaged, you can have problems controlling your bladder or bowels, and you can experience heat and cold intolerance, high blood pressure, and other symptoms as your bodily functions become delayed. 

The treatment for each kind of nerve damage can be customized for the symptoms and the patient. If you want to get to the bottom of your neuropathy pain, come in for a consultation with Dr. Haider. You can schedule an appointment by calling the location closest to you, or book online.

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