A Guide on Peripheral Neuropathy

Sustaining nerve damage in a car accident is a fairly common occurrence.Nerve damage can occur in your spine, limbs, and brain due to trauma and can significantly impact your daily life activities. Besides, it can be challenging to diagnose and treat.

The nervous system is fragile than you may realize, so you should always visit a doctor after an accident if you get any nerve damage symptoms. Keep reading to learn what to do to get the help you need.

What Is Nerve Damage?

There are 100 plus different types of nerve damage–each type may show various symptoms and require different treatment.Nerves help communicate different areas of the body with each other. Because nerves control all you do, nerve damage can badly affect your life.

How a Car Accident Cause Nerve Damage?

While some car crashes only result in minor injuries that go with the time, some result in life-threatening injuries such as nerve damage––by pressure or stretching of the nerve itself.

The most common car accident injuries that can cause nerve damage are

  • Whiplash
  • Blunt-force trauma
  • Lacerations

What is Peripheral neuropathy?

It refers to conditions that may damage your peripheral nervous system outside of the brain and the spinal cord.Peripheral neuropathy often causes weakness and pain, usually in hands and feet, and all other parts of the body.

Neuropathy can also be caused by a work accident, repetitive motion injury, and trauma inflicted from a sports accident. Whatever the situation is, three types of nerves can get pinched, compressed, or stretched.

  • Autonomic nerves–––it controlsyour overall body systems.
  • Motor nerves–––it allows movement.
  • Sensorynerves––it controls sensation.

Car Accident Nerve Damage Symptoms

The victim of a car crash can get a wide array of symptoms, however, depending on the type and location of affected nerves.

Symptoms related to Autonomic nerve damage include:

  • Inability to sense chest pain––heart attack or  angina 
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Too much sweating or too little sweating 
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sexual dysfunction

Symptoms related to motor nerve damage include:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Twitchingalso called fasciculation

Symptoms related to sensory nerve damage include:

  • Sensitivity
  • Pain
  • Tingling or prickling
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Problems with positional awareness

What are the risk factors associated with peripheral neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy risk factors include:

  • Vitamin deficiencies, particularly B vitamins
  • Diabetes
  • Infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, shingles, HIV, and hepatitis B and C
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Repetitive motion
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Kidney, liver or thyroid disorders
  • Family history of neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy Complications

  • Infection––The victim’s hands and feet may lack sensation, as a result, they might not feel pain in these areas. It is advisable to regularly check these areas before they become infected––diabetes patients need to be extra careful.
  • Burns and skin trauma– the victim may become unable to feel temperature changes on parts of the body that are numb.
  • Falls––Weakness may be associated with a lack of balance.

Peripheral neuropathy Prevention-Make healthy lifestyle choices

How to manage underlying conditions?

The following habits may help strengthen your nerve health:

  • Exercise regularly– Try to get at least one hour of exercise daily or at least thrice a week.
  • Eat rich––To protect yourself from Peripheral neuropathy disorder, you must eat adiet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains to keep nerves healthy. Low-fat dairy foods, meats, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals protect against vitamin B-12 deficiency. You can have fortified cereals if you’re vegan, but talk to your doctor about artificial supplements.
  • Avoid factors that may damage your nerves––cramped positions,repetitive motions that put pressure on nerves, smoking,drinking, and exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • Check BP and glucose daily–If you have hp BP or diabetes, monitoring them daily will help keep it under control and might help you recover fast.
  • Avoid alcohol as it can worsen peripheral neuropathy.
  • Quit smoking

Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy

First, your doctor will conduct a physical exam; ask how injury occurs, and then ask about your medical history. If your condition doesn’t match those of peripheral neuropathy symptoms, the doctor may perform one or more of the following test:

  • Blood tests give measurementsof your vitamin and blood sugar levels in the body. Moreover, it helps to determine whether your thyroid is functioning properly.
  • You may need to go through a CT scan or MRI procedures to see if anything is pressing on a nerve––herniated disk or a tumor.
  • The doctor can also order a nerve biopsy, a minor surgery that removes a small amount of your nerve tissue so that doctors can examine the areas under a microscope.

Likewise, your doctor may perform Electromyography or Nerve conduction study in very rare cases.

Peripheral neuropathy treatment

The treatment for peripheral neuropathyis based on treating the underlying disorder. If you’re suffering from a vitamin deficiency, then correcting the deficiency is the treatment. If diabetes is the cause, you need to make sure that that the blood glucose remains controlled. Sometimes a combination of treatments brings relief and brings you back to life.

Over-the-counter pain medications

OTC medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin, can be very helpful in reducing the pain. But if you take them without the doctor’s permission or in excess, these drugs can affect your body organs.

Anti-seizure medications

Pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin) may relieve your nerve pain. However, many patients have reported side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness, using these medications.

Therapies and other Medical treatments

Your doctor can use more than one medical treatment to control the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.

  •       Physical therapy
  •       Plasma exchange and intravenous immune globulin
  •       Transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation (TENS)
  •       Ergonomic casts or splints
  •       Surgery

Self-care

In addition to the medications and treatments listed above, many people have found relief for this condition through:

  • chiropractic care
  • meditation
  • acupuncture
  • massage
  • yoga

If you smoke or drink alcohol, consider cutting back immediately. Both tobacco and alcohol aggravate nerve pain or damage when used for long periods.

Preparing for your appointment

Treatment options are varied,but only a trained medical professional can identify what type of nerve damage you are suffering from and what treatment method will work best for your condition.

If you experience nerve damage after a car accident, you should go to a doctorto be correctly diagnosed and treated.

Questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Is this condition temporary or permanent?
  • What’s the cause of my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Which treatment do you recommend?
  • Are there any side effects of those treatments?
  • How can I best manage other health conditions with nerve damage?
  • Should I restrict activities?

Don’t hesitate to ask other questions.

Thank you for reading!

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