What Is Nerve Pain?
Every movement and sensation involves a complex series of messages between nerves and the brain. Nerve pain, or neuropathy, occurs when something affects or interferes with the nerves that carry sensations to the brain. Nerve pain could have a simple cause. Or, there could be an underlying condition present. Consider these 4 common causes of nerve pain and what to do about each one.
1. Degenerative or herniated discs
Along the length of the spine, small discs act as shock absorbers. These discs are filled with a jelly-like substance. Sometimes, due to strain or injury, this substance pushes through the disc, causing the disc to press on surrounding nerves and muscles. This is called a herniated disc. The result? Severe nerve pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options, such as steroid injections or physical therapy. If needed, an orthopedic surgeon can operate to remove or repair the herniated disc.
Having diabetes is one of the most common reasons for experiencing nerve pain. When diabetes is not well-controlled, high blood sugar can damage nerves. This is why people with diabetes may experience foot tingling or numbness over time. To prevent these diabetes complications, take all medications as directed and manage diabetes carefully. Also, check the feet daily for any new wounds and keep the feet dry.
3. Sudden injuries
There are cases where an accident or sudden injury can cause nerve damage. For example, a car accident or severe athletic injury may damage nerves. In some cases, surgeons may operate to repair nerves. In less severe cases, repetitive movements such as typing may lead to nerve damage and pain over time.
4. Vitamin deficiencies
Sometimes, correcting nerve pain is as simple as minding what nutrients a person is getting. For example, deficiencies in B1, B6, and B12 are all associated with nerve pain. Before starting a new supplement, however, be sure to get a blood workup with a healthcare provider. Taking too much of a certain vitamin can also cause problems, so only start a new supplement at the direction of a healthcare provider.
What can I do to get rid of nerve pain?
If nerve pain is the result of an underlying condition, such as diabetes, be sure to closely follow any treatment plan from a healthcare provider. In general, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can improve overall health and reduce nerve pain. Also avoid any activities that worsen pain, such as drinking too much alcohol or typing for hours on end. For more information about nerve pain treatment, speak with a healthcare provider.
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