Nerve Injuries

Find Effective Treatment for Nerve Injuries at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic

The nervous system is a complex collection of nerve cells (neurons) that acts as the body’s electrical wiring, transmitting signals between all parts of the body. It’s made up of the brain, spinal cord, and organs that relay information (sensory organs), as well as all the neurons of the body.

The nervous system is classified into two groups:

  • Central nervous system: This includes the brain and spinal cord and acts as the control center where information is processed and decisions are made.
  • Peripheral nervous system: This includes all the neurons outside of the central nervous system. Some carry information from it (motor neurons), while others carry information to it (sensory neurons). These neurons control sensation, movement, and motor coordination.

What Are Nerve Injuries?

Neurons are fragile and can be damaged by pressure, stretching, or cutting. An injury to a neuron can stop the signals transmitted to and from the brain, causing muscles to not work properly or a loss of feeling in an injured area. Nerve injuries can impact the brain, the spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

What Are Brain Injuries?

Brain injuries, or brain damage, can occur due to a wide range of injuries, illnesses, and other conditions. They can also occur if the brain is starved of oxygen for a long period of time. Brain injuries can lead to long-term complications in various types of functioning, and many people who experience them require assistance with performing normal physical activities. Brain injuries are generally grouped into these categories:

  • Acquired brain injuries (ABI): Any type of brain damage that occurs after birth, including traumatic brain injuries. Causes of ABI include poisoning, tumors, heart attacks, stroke, strangulation, choking, neurological disorders, infection, and drug abuse.
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head, which causes the brain to move inside the skull and damages the brain. Causes of TBI include car accidents, sports injuries, physical violence, and falls.

Depending on the type and severity of brain injury, a wide range of cognitive, perceptive, physical, or behavioral and emotional symptoms can develop. If any major changes in any of these areas are noticed, it could be due to a brain injury and should be evaluated by a medical professional.

What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?

A spinal cord injury is any damage, or trauma, to any part of the cord itself or the nerves within it that interrupts the flow of information from the brain to other parts of the body. This can cause permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other functioning.

The higher the injury on the spinal cord, the more dysfunction will occur. An injury at a higher level of the cord will affect the arms, legs, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs, while a lower level injury will only affect the legs, pelvic organs, and trunk. Depending on the severity, a spinal cord injury will be classified as either complete or incomplete. A complete injury means nearly all the movement and sensation below the level of the injury is lost or interrupted, while an incomplete injury means some movement remains. Severe injuries can result in paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegic or tetraplegic) or just the lower limbs (paraplegic).

Accidents, falls, and sports injuries may all cause direct damage to the spinal nerves, while other conditions like spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, and spinal disc pain can also cause these problems.

Symptoms of damage to nerves of the spinal cord include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Pain or stinging sensation
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing the throat

What Are Peripheral Nerve Injuries?

Peripheral nerves are fragile and can be easily damaged. When they’re damaged, it can interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the muscles and organs, and can result in the loss of motor function, sensory function, or both. Damage to the peripheral nerves can also result in peripheral neuropathy, which is a general term for malfunctioning of these nerves.

Peripheral nerve injuries can be the result of diseases such as diabetic nerve problems; can develop through infections like Guillain-Barré syndrome; can arise from nerve compression such as carpal tunnel syndrome; or develop from an injury like brachial plexus injury. Some people are born with peripheral nerve disorders.

Symptoms often start gradually and then get worse, and include:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling or burning
  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sensitivity to touch in the arms, legs, shoulders, or hands

It’s important to get medical care for a peripheral nerve injury quickly, as these nerve tissues can usually be repaired.

How Are Nerve Injuries Diagnosed?

If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above and suspect you may have some type of nerve injury, the specialists at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic can help diagnose your condition and determine the proper course of treatment.

Your evaluation will include a full medical history, physical and neurological exam, and depending on your symptoms, possibly a radiographic study, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CAT), or positron emission tomography (PET) scan.

How Are Nerve Injuries Treated?

Once your diagnosis is made, we’ll work with you to decide on the best type of treatment for your injury or condition.  For certain nerve issues, surgical treatment may be the most immediate solution to your problem.

At Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic, some of the surgical procedures for nerve injuries to the central and peripheral nervous systems we provide include:

  • Carpal tunnel release
  • Ulnar nerve decompression
  • Laminectomy

Make an Appointment

Our neurosurgeons at Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic have extensive experience in dealing with nerve injuries. To meet with one of our nerve injury specialists, make an appointment today.

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