Peripheral nerve damages refer to damage of the nerve and connective tissue surrounding it. This is attributed to the dependence of neurons on the supporting glia. Studies on the injuries to peripheral nerve started during the Civil War in America and has seen progress not only in the aspects of nerve regeneration or reinnervation but also therapies which will enhance this process like use of biological conduits or administering molecules promoting growth.
Regeneration of this system is possible. The process is a result of a series of events:
- Wallerian degeneration
- Regeneration or growth of axon
- Nerve reinnervation
Regeneration revolves around the axis of the nerve damage or injury. The proximal stump, which is the end of the damaged neuron, remains attached to the cell body. This part regenerates. The distal base is the end of the injured neuron which remains connected to the axon. This part degenerates and remains attached. The new axon which is regenerating will grow towards it.
There are approximately 100 types of nerve damages known having different symptoms and requiring different treatments. While most cases are a fall out of diabetes, other ailments causing this condition include:
Autoimmune disease: Some varieties of this condition are lupus, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, inflammatory bowel disorder and Guillian-Barre syndrome.
Cancer: Cancerous tumors may push and press nerves causing pain and damage. Certain cancers lead to deficiencies in the nutritional aspect causing damage to functioning of the nerves. Treatment like radiation and chemotherapy may cause this symptom.
Trauma or compression: This state of nerves can cause pain or damage like pinched nerves in one’s neck, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or crush injury.
Diabetes: This can worsen nerve damage as the condition progresses. The serious complication of diabetic neuropathy can affect all the 3 different types of neurons. The sensory nerves get affected the most causing symptoms like numbness or burning.
Toxic matter or side effect of medicines: Chemotherapy or medications used to treat HIV can cause these symptoms. Toxic matter includes accidental ingestion of arsenic, mercury or lead.
Motor neuron disease: Nerves assisting communication of brain and spine with muscles can get damaged by diseases like ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease causing damage to nerves.
Deficiency of nutrients: Deficiency of vitamins B12 and B6 can cause symptoms of burning, weakness, pain or damage to nerves. This also results by excessive consumption of alcohol or post-gastric surgery.
Infectious disease: Herpes, HIV, hepatitis C or Lyme disease can adversely affect nerves.
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Wikipedia: Peripheral Nerve Injury