Nerve Injuries

Nerves are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. Injury to a nerve can stop signals to and from the brain, causing muscles not to work properly, and a loss of feeling in the injured area.

Anatomy

Nerves are part of the “electrical wiring” system that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Motor nerves carry messages between the brain and muscles to make the body move. Sensory nerves carry messages between the brain and different parts of the body to signal pain, pressure, and temperature.

A ring of tissue covers the nerve, protecting it just like the insulation surrounding an electrical cable. Nerves are composed of many fibers, called axons. These axons are separated into bundles within the nerve. The bundles are surrounded by tissue layers, just like the outer tissue layer that surrounds the nerve.

                           

Signs:

-range from minor nerve symptoms ( Grade 1 ) to paralysis (Grade 5 )

  • pain ( shooting,radiating,throbbing,stabbing,stinging…
  • burning or cold sensation
  • tingling
  • numbness that can radiate down a limb
  • muscle weakness
  • increased or decreased sensation
  • partial or complet paralysis

Causes :

  • contusion
  • compression
  • friction
  • over strech
  • laceration
  • broken bone that severs or compresses a nerve
  • decreased blood supply to the nerve
  • long term repeated activity ( chronic)

Treatment :

  • correct the cause
  • streching
  • ultrasound
  • analgesics
  • injections
  • surgery
  • rest

Recovery:

Several things can be done to keep up muscle activity and feeling while waiting for the nerve to heal.

  • Physical therapy will keep joints flexible. If the joints become stiff, they will not work, even after the muscles begin to work again.
  • If a sensory nerve has been injured, care must be taken not to burn or cut fingers because there is no feeling in the affected area.
  • With a nerve injury, the brain may need to be “re-educated.” After the nerve has recovered, sensory re-education may be needed to improve feeling to the hand or finger. The physician will recommend appropriate physical therapy based on the nature and location of the injury.

Factors that may affect results after nerve repair include age, the type of wound and nerve, and location of the injury. Although nerve injuries may create lasting problems, proper treatment helps patients return to more normal function.

 

                       

 

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