Our brains are like a computer with a messaging system that allows messages to go back and forth from the brain to the rest of our bodies via the spinal cord.
This messaging system we speak of is our nervous system that is incredibly important to our well-being as it is responsible for body functions and activities like breathing, thinking, and feeling.
Any damage to it can be life-threatening, especially if untreated.
There are over 100 types of nerve damage with varying symptoms that may include loss of balance, pain, and even the inability to feel pain.
Like the types of nerve damage, the causes of nerve damage also vary depending on health conditions such as diabetes, infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, severe injuries, trauma from accidents, and cancer that cause them.
#1 – Numbness or pain
As mentioned before, symptoms of nerve damage differ depending on which and how many nerves are irritated or damaged. In this context, any condition that affects the normal function of the peripheral nervous system is called peripheral neuropathy whose causes can either be congenital or acquired from illnesses like diabetes.
This condition causes you to feel as if your hands or feet are swollen when they’re actually not, numbness, tingling, burning sensation, or stabbing pain in your limbs throughout the day.
Nerve pain, also known as Neuropathic pain, can be chronic and severe so much so that even the feel of sheets on your skin or can cause discomfort or trigger more pain. That is because when nerves are injured or damaged, they send false pain signals to your brain.
If you wake up at night with sudden waves of pain in your arms and legs, it could be due to nerve damage so you should tell your doctor who then may suggest therapy, surgery, or prescribe medications depending on the situation.
#2 – You can’t feel pain
Nerve damage does not only cause pain, but it can also take it away completely
When you touch something hot, you automatically retract your hand because the nerves on your skin instantly send a message to your brain which then tells your muscles to pull away.
However, when your sensory nerves that receive sensation like temperature are damaged, your sense of touch becomes numb and you may feel little to no pain from burns, cuts or injuries.
In other words, it feels like you’re wearing gloves when you touch any object.
Other causes of impaired sensation include congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP), brain tumors, stroke, and diabetes. You should consult your doctor immediately after you experience such symptoms.
#3 – Your clumsiness is not just clumsiness
Varying factors can lead you to lose balance, including lack of sleep, low blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and nerve damage. If you suddenly feel your muscles go weak and start dropping things, tripping or falling, it could be because of nerve damage.
Also, if the lack of balance is accompanied by vertigo or lightheadedness, it could be due to inflammation in the vestibular nerve which is responsible for balance, hearing, and sending information from the inner ear to the brain.
Do not overlook this type of clumsiness and the warnings that your body sends.
#4 – Sweating profusely or too little
If you sweat too much from your underarms, palms, or soles even when it’s cold or without physical activity, it could either because of a congenital condition or hyperthyroidism, menopause, obesity, diabetes mellitus that may result in nerve damage, or due to an oversensitive sympathetic nervous system that causes the overproduction of sweat.
This disorder is called hyperhidrosis and affects around 2.8% of the US population.
On the other hand, little to no sweating can be caused by anhidrosis, or hypohidrosis, which is the inability to perspire normally. When your sweat glands are not functioning properly, your body won’t be able to cool itself which puts you at the risk of heatstroke.
#5 – You have difficulty urinating
When you have difficulty urinating, many factors could be behind it; kidney stones, urinary tract infection (UTI), enlarged prostate, or damage in the nerves that transmit messages between the bladder and the brain.
The condition is called neurogenic bladder which makes you lose control over your bladder and release less than intended. This condition may lead to other health problems such as bladder and kidney infection caused by multiplying bacteria in the urine that stays in the bladder for too long.
#6 – You can’t move parts of your body
You may become unable to move your legs because of damage to the femoral nerve that controls the muscles that move your leg and hips. This condition is called femoral neuropathy, or nerve dysfunction.
Damage to the femoral nerve may result from injury, chronic diseases, or long term pressure on the nerve which may lead to weakness and paralysis.
These symptoms require urgent medical attention as they may also lead to stroke.
Lastly, always listen to whatever signs your body sends and make sure to consult your doctor if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms.
If you suffer from types of nerve damage, they may require varying kinds of treatment such as electrical nerve stimulation, antioxidant vitamins, Peripheral Nerve Surgery, biofeedback, and hypnosis.