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Treating Symptoms of Nerve Damage with Chiropractic Care

Published Date: 
October 6, 2022
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A woman is suffering from nerve damage pain in her lower back.

Chiropractic treatments can help relieve pain caused by nerve damage. Learn more about how a chiropractor can help you.

Do you experience numbness and tingling, ringing in your ears, or unexplainable pain? You may be suffering from nerve damage. Since the nerves relay communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body, you need effective treatment if you suffer from nerve damage. Chiropractic care can help ease the symptoms. This post delves into how chiropractic care benefits you if you have nerve damage. 

Types of Nerves

Nerves are everywhere in your body. There are billions of nerves, but most are peripheral, that is, they branch out like a tree. Nerves relay electrochemical impulses to the different organs in your body from the central nervous system (CNS). You might think nerves would be named based on their anatomical location. However, the naming convention is actually based on the function of the nerves. 

We have four main types of nerves categorized by their function:

  • Motor Nerves: Motor nerves, or motor neurons, control the movement of body organs, from blinking to walking. The nerves send signals from the spine and muscle to the nerve endings to control movement. The sciatic nerve is an example of a collection of motor nerves.
  • Sensory Nerves: Sensory nerves send signals opposite to those of motor nerves. The nerves send information from the skin to the spinal cord and brain. Sensory nerves transmit pain when you are injured. Damage to sensory nerves causes pins and needles sensations or paresthesia. 
  • Autonomic Nerves: Autonomic nerves control the involuntary or partially voluntary functions of your body, such as heartbeat, digestion, and metabolic activities. The autonomic nerves are further divided into two subsections; the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nerves. The sympathetic nervous system controls "fight and flight" responses, while the parasympathetic nervous system controls metabolic activities.
  • Cranial Nerves: Cranial nerves are divided into 12 pairs. The cranial nerves are essential for vision, smell, tongue, and facial movements. The 12 nerves are olfactory, optic, oculomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, spinal accessory, and hypoglossal nerves. 

Nerves are essential to everyday function. When you have nerve damage, it is vital to understand the cause and available treatments. 

A woman is experiencing nerve pain from nerve damage in her wrist and hand.

Common Causes of Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can occur for multiple reasons. Diabetes is the number one cause of nerve damage, followed by the inheritance of anatomical defects and repetitive motions. Other causes of nerve damage include trauma and medical complications.

Toxins such as alcohol, lead, and mercury cause nerve damage. Autoimmune diseases such as hepatitis also cause nerve damage. Nutritional imbalances such as excess vitamin B6 and lack of B12 cause nerve impairment. Cancer is also a significant cause. When tumors grow and push on nerves, it causes nerve pain. 

Trauma to the neck or head causes the most grievous damage due to the proximity of the brain and the brain stem. Motor vehicle accidents, falls, and high-contact sports cause injuries to the neck and spine, resulting in nerve damage. 

Types of Nerve Damage 

There are over 100 types of nerve damage. However, we generally classify nerve damage into four types: autonomic, focal, peripheral, and proximal nerve damage. Peripheral nerve damage is the most common type, affecting about 20 million Americans. The medical term for peripheral nerve damage is peripheral neuropathy. Most people use peripheral neuropathy and neuropathy interchangeably. However, they are different terms, since you may experience diabetic neuropathy if you have diabetes. It is best to describe nerve damage as neuropathy. 

The most severe nerve injury is an avulsion, when the nerve root is pulled away from the spinal cord. Other injuries that are not as severe involve a stretching or rupturing of the nerve where the nerve tears in two. Nerve damage is also classified according to the type of nerve where the injury occurs. You can have motor, sensory, cranial, or autonomic nerve damage. 

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Symptoms of neuropathy vary from person to person, depending on the type of nerve damage.

Damage to the motor nerves produces the following symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Twitching
  • Muscle atrophy 

Damage to the autonomic nerves produces the following symptoms:

  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Dry eyes and mouth
  • Hyperhidrosis or anhidrosis
  • Lightheadedness

Damage to the sensory nerves produces the following symptoms:

  • Positional vertigo
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pain
  • Heightened sensitivity
A chiropractor is treating a woman for nerve damage in her spine.

Chiropractic Care and the Nervous System

Chiropractic care links the CNS's optimal function to the spine and the brain. Trauma to the spine causes herniated discs and spinal misalignment, which press on the nerves and the brain stem. The brainstem is the CNS's communication pathway; therefore, damage causes a low relay of neurotransmitters. 

Ineffective relay of neurotransmitters impedes the optimal function of the nerves. Chiropractic care treats the symptoms of nerve damage at the root – the CNS – rather than the affected area, easing symptoms in your whole body. 

How Do Chiropractors Treat Nerve Pain Caused by Nerve Damage? 

Chiropractors employ non-invasive, all-natural treatment modalities and technologies to treat nerve pain. Depending on the cause and the symptoms, you can expect spinal adjustments and manipulation, spinal decompression therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), and dietary and nutrition modifications.

Spinal adjustments realign the spine to relieve pressure on the nerves, while spine decompression eases tension, especially on pinched nerves. The two approaches reduce inflammation and nerve irritation, resulting in a pain-free body. 

TENS sends electrical impulses to the nerves, which reduce pain. Inflammation and pain go hand in hand. Some chiropractors may use ultrasound therapy to reduce inflammation in the nerves. 

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for nerve pain using chiropractic care. Chiropractors run multiple tests to determine the extent of the nerve damage and combine effective treatments for nerve pain. 

What to Expect from Chiropractic Neuropathy Treatments

Spinal manipulation is the core of chiropractic treatments for neuropathy. After an accurate diagnosis using neurological, physical, and imaging tests, the chiropractor will leverage the above treatment modalities to treat the symptoms.

Chiropractic care for nerve damage has superior success to pain-relieving meds since painkillers only mask the pain. Chiropractic care treats the symptoms. You can expect a faster recovery than if you had chosen surgery to correct nerve damage. 

You will have improved nerve function, correct spinal posture, reduced nerve inflammation, and overall body wellness at the end of the chiropractic visits. However, it might take several visits before you start seeing resolutions from nerve pain. 

Conclusion 

Chiropractic care for nerve damage treats inflammation in the nerve and improves nerve function. Chiropractors will employ multidisciplinary treatments to treat neuropathy. If you have symptoms of neuropathy, don’t struggle with nerve damage. Invest in your health today and seek a reliable chiropractor to treat neuropathy. 

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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