A medical professional can recommend exercises that can help relieve nerve damage.
Nerve damage can result from illness, injury, or a chronic medical condition such as diabetes. Patients with damaged nerves often experience pain, numbness, and partial loss of motor function in the affected areas of the body. These problems can range from mild to severe and often occur in the arms and legs, a condition called peripheral neuropathy. The most common treatments for nerve damage are lifestyle changes, medications, therapy, and surgery.
Nerve damage can cause temporary paralysis in some individuals.
Mild to moderate nerve damage and the resulting pain, weakness and other symptoms can be managed through lifestyle changes. These changes focus on controlling the condition that is causing the nerve problems. Nutritional deficiencies and uncontrolled high blood sugar levels can make nerve problems worse, especially in diabetic patients. Minor cases usually improve when the patient makes an effort to eat more nutritious foods and control their blood sugar levels by consuming a diet with less sugar and processed foods. Other patients with nerve problems can manage symptoms through regular exercise that helps them maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles, and reduce pressure on painful areas.
Nerve damage is a possible complication of diabetes.
Medications to minimize pain and treat underlying conditions are another common treatment for nerve damage. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, can help relieve mild, temporary nerve pain. Some patients require prescription pain medications, although the use of these medications is closely monitored due to the risk of addiction. Other medications, such as anticonvulsants and antidepressants, can also help relieve pain and dizziness, another common symptom in patients with nerve damage.
Children who suffer from nerve damage may benefit from being involved in activities that involve developing fine motor skills.
Physical and occupational therapy can help patients with nerve damage regain motor function and strengthen their bodies to counteract the weakness caused by damaged or injured nerves. Patients with nerve problems are often given gentle stretching and strengthening exercises by physical therapists, particularly if the problems are caused by an injury or compression to a nerve root. Occupational therapists focus on helping patients adapt their home and work environments and lifestyles to their capabilities, such as adding non-slip surfaces and railings. Safety procedures, such as testing the water temperature with an unaffected body part before entering the shower or bath, are also taught.
A reflex test may be conducted to determine if a patient has suffered nerve damage.
Surgery is usually a last-resort treatment option and is reserved for patients with severe nerve damage and those who do not get symptom relief with non-invasive treatment methods. Doctors can often repair damaged nerves by removing the injured sections and reattaching healthy nerve ends, or by replacing a damaged nerve with a piece of a healthy nerve taken from another part of the patient’s body. Not every patient with nerve damage is a good candidate for surgery. Nerve surgeons perform several tests before proceeding with the operation to ensure the best chance that the surgery will succeed in restoring sensation, minimizing pain, and increasing strength and mobility.