In their anatomical course through the body and the limbs nerves might be damaged in various ways, the cause of damage most often being traumatic. Symptoms of nerve damage may be prickling, numbness and pain but also palsy or disorders of the bladder or the rectum. Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints today. Up to 80% of the US-Population will suffer from back pain at least ones in their lives. Back pain or lumbar pain is the largest cause of work-related absence in the United Kingdom.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a special case of nerve pain. It is often described as the “the world’s worst pain.” Typically, patients suffer from attacks of intense, electric shock-like facial pain along the trigeminal nerve. More information here: Trigeminal neuralgia
Very often nerves are trapped at the spinal cord, the backbone or in their course to the limbs. The reason for this may be some injury, a slipped disk or the trapping of a nerve in a bony or connective tissue canal. A typical example is the carpal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms are depending on the location of the injured or damaged nerve. Often nerves in the cervical or lumbar back are squeezed by a slipped disk causing neck or back and leg pain. Another common location is the wrist. If a nerve is squeezed here it results in pain in the hand called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But many other conditions can cause nerve damages in different locations such as sports related injuries of the shoulder and others.
Most important is a consultation with an experienced Neurologist. The clinical impression and physical examination are guiding the way. If the location is identified, certain nerve tests like Nerve Conducting Velocity or Electromyography may be used to verify the diagnosis or to determine the location precisely.
All conservative treatment options should be tried before a surgical intervention is considered. These treatment options also depend on the location of the damaged or squeezed nerve. Often specialized physiotherapy, certain braces and life style adjustments are successful. Moreover, an adequate pain management and other medications are essential to optimize a fast recovery. Most nerve damages are successfully treatable without surgery.
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