There are billions of nerves in your body. Most of them, your peripheral nerves, are like branches of a tree that spread out all over and transmit messages back to the trunk—your brain and spinal cord. When everything goes smoothly, your brain gets the info it needs so that you can move your muscles, recognize pain, and keep your internal organs working properly.
But when peripheral nerves get damaged, it’s another story: Walking could become challenging, you might experience unrelenting pain, or you could end up with a serious injury because you had no idea how hot that stove was.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
- Feeling like you’re wearing a tight glove or sock.
- Muscle weakness, especially in your arms or legs.
- Regularly dropping objects that you’re holding.
- Sharp pains in your hands, arms, legs, or feet.
Damaged nerves in your brain and spinal cord. It can also occur in the peripheral nerves, which are located throughout the rest of your body.
- Regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.
- Correcting nutritional deficiencies.
- Changing medications when drugs are causing nerve damage.
- Physical therapy or surgery to address compression or trauma to nerves.
- Medications to treat autoimmune conditions.
Your nervous system is involved in everything your body does, from regulating your breathing to controlling your muscles and sensing heat and cold.
- B vitamins are useful in treating neuropathy since they support healthy nervous system function. …
- Supplementation should include vitamin B-1 (thiamine and benfotiamine), B-6, and B-12. …
- A deficiency in vitamin B-12 is one cause of peripheral neuropathy.
- Topical treatments. Some over-the-counter and prescription topical treatments — like creams, lotions, gels, and patches — can ease nerve pain. …
- Anticonvulsants. …
- Antidepressants. …
- Painkillers. …
- Electrical stimulation. …
- Other techniques. …
- Complementary treatments. …
- Lifestyle changes.
|Narrow-spectrum AEDs:||Broad-spectrum AEDs:|
|– carbamazepine (Tegretol)||– topiramate (Topamax)|
|– oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)||– zonisamide (Zonegran)|
|– gabapentin (Neurontin)||– levetiracetam (Keppra)|
|– pregabalin (Lyrica)||– clonazepam (Klonopin)|
- Vitamins. Some cases of peripheral neuropathy are related to vitamin deficiencies. …
- Cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, an ingredient in hot peppers that makes them spicy. …
- Quit smoking. …
- Warm bath. …
- Exercise. …
- Essential oils. …
- Meditation. …
There are three types of nerves in the body:
Autonomic nerves. These nerves control the involuntary or partially voluntary activities of your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.
Motor nerves. These nerves control your movements and actions by passing information from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles.
Sensory nerves. These nerves relay information from your skin and muscles back to your spinal cord and brain. The information is then processed to let you feel pain and other sensations.
Because nerves are essential to all you do, nerve pain and damage can seriously affect your quality of life.
What Are the Symptoms of Nerve Pain and Nerve Damage?
With nerve damage, there can be a wide array of symptoms. Which ones you may have depended on the location and type of nerves that are affected. Damage can occur to nerves in your brain and spinal cord. It can also occur in the peripheral nerves, which are located throughout the rest of your body.
Autonomic nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Inability to sense chest pain, such as angina or heart attack
- Too much sweating (known as hyperhidrosis) or too little sweating(known as anhidrosis)
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Bladder dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
- Muscle atrophy
- Twitching, also known as fasciculation
Sensory nerve damage may produce the following symptoms:
- Tingling or prickling
- Problems with positional awareness
In some instances, people with nerve damage will have symptoms that indicate damage to two, or even three, different types of nerves. For instance, you might experience weakness and burning of your legs at the same time.
Damage to motor nerves may produce the following symptoms:
Neuropathy (nerve damage) Caused by Trauma
Neuropathy is a disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness.
- Peripheral neuropathy (also called diabetic nerve pain and distal polyneuropathy)
- Proximal neuropathy (also called diabetic amyotrophy)
- Autonomic neuropathy.
- Focal neuropathy (also called mononeuropathy)
- Stage One: Numbness & Pain.
- Stage Two: Constant Pain.
- Stage Three: Intense Pain.
- Stage Four: Complete Numbness/ Loss of Sensation.
Muscle strain, muscle pull, or even a muscle tear refers to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. You can put undue pressure on muscles during the course of normal daily activities, with sudden heavy lifting, during sports, or while performing work tasks.
Muscle damage can be in the form of tearing (part or all) of the muscle fibers and the tendons attached to the muscle. The tearing of the muscle can also damage small blood vessels, causing local bleeding, or bruising, and pain caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the area.
Muscle Strain Symptoms
Symptoms of muscle strain include:
- Swelling, bruising, or redness due to the injury
- Pain at rest
- Pain when the specific muscle or the joint in relation to that muscle is used
- The weakness of the muscle or tendons
- Inability to use the muscle at all
Muscle Strain Treatment Self-Care at Home
The amount of swelling or local bleeding into the muscle (from torn blood vessels) can best be managed early by applying ice packs and maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened. However, the early application of heat can increase swelling and pain.
Note: Ice or heat should not be applied to bare skin. Always use a protective covering such as a towel between the ice or heat and the skin.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to reduce pain and improve your ability to move around. Do not take NSAIDS if you have kidney disease or a history of gastrointestinal bleeding or if you are also taking a blood thinner — such as Coumadin — without first talking with your doctor. In that case, it is safer to take acetaminophen, which helps lessen pain but does not reduce inflammation.
- Protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle. Here’s how: First, remove all constrictive clothing, including jewelry, in the area of muscle strain. Then:
- Protect the strained muscle from further injury.
- Rest the strained muscle. Avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful.
- Ice the muscle area (20 minutes every hour while awake). Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory and pain-reliever. Small ice packs, such as packages of frozen vegetables or water frozen in foam coffee cups, applied to the area may help decrease inflammation.
- Compression can be gently applied with an Ace or other elastic bandage, which can both provide support and decrease swelling. Do not wrap tightly.
- Elevate the injured area to decrease swelling. Prop up a strained leg muscle while sitting, for example.
- Activities that increase muscle pain or work the affected body part are not recommended until the pain has significantly improved.
Sports Injuries, Work Injuries, auto accidents, repetitive motion injuries can cause nerve damage
Trauma whether by a physical injury or surgery is a common cause of neuropathy, nerve damage.
Trauma – Physical Injuries are the most common cause of injury to a nerve.
Injury or sudden trauma, such as from automobile accidents, falls, sports-related activities. etc., can cause nerves to be partially or completely severed, crushed, compressed, or stretched, sometimes so forcefully that they are partially or completely detached from the spinal cord.
How can this trauma in injuries damage the nerves?
Broken or dislocated bones can exert damaging pressure on neighboring nerves, and slipped disks between vertebrae can compress nerve fibers where they emerge from the spinal cord.
Trauma can cause pressure neuropathy. This is “pinching” a nerve by putting too much pressure on it. For example, the sciatic nerve may be painfully compressed by a ruptured disc in the lower spine, causing sciatica. Pressure neuropathy is also called nerve compression.
Entrapment neuropathy (neuralgia, neuritis, pinched or trapped nerve) is caused by physical compression or irritation of major nerve trunks and peripheral nerves, producing distant nerve pain symptoms. Certain sites in the body are more likely to produce nerve entrapment because of anatomical vulnerability that can be created by trauma.
Repetitive stress – frequently leads to entrapment neuropathies, a special category of compression injury. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example of repetitive stress.
Cumulative damage can result from repetitive, forceful, awkward activities that require flexing of any group of joints for prolonged periods. The resulting irritation may cause ligaments, tendons, and muscles to become inflamed and swollen, constricting the narrow passageways through which some nerves pass.
Compression neuropathy – pressure on an area can result in an inability to transmit nerve impulses because compression has damaged nerve fibers either directly or indirectly by restricting their supply of oxygen.
Trauma that causes severe muscle injuries can compress the nerve. .It all depends on the nerve compressed.
Benefits of Massage for Nerve Damage
Benefits include pain reduction, tension relief, improved mobility, and stress reduction. Deep-tissue massage utilizes slow strokes, direct pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles with the fingers, thumbs or elbows. … This technique is useful in treating chronic pain, inflammation, and injury.
Massage or massage therapy is a system of structured palpations or movements of the soft tissues of the body. The massage system may include, but is not limited to, such techniques as, stroking, kneading, gliding, percussion, friction, vibration, compression, passive or active stretching within the normal anatomical range of movement; effleurage (either firm or light soothing, stroking movement, without dragging the skin, using either padded parts of fingertips or palms); petrissage (lifting or picking up muscles and rolling the folds of skin); or tapotement (striking with the side of the hand, usually with partly flexed fingers, rhythmic movements with fingers or short rapid movements of sides of the hand).
These techniques may be applied with or without the aid of lubricants, salt or herbal preparations, hydromassage, thermal massage, or a massage device that mimics or enhances the actions possible by human hands. The purpose of the practice of massage is to enhance the general health and well-being of the recipient. Massage does not include the diagnosis of a specific pathology, the prescription of drugs or controlled substances, spinal manipulation, or those acts of physical therapy that are outside the scope of massage therapy.
Today, people use many different types of massage therapy for a variety of health-related purposes, such as pain management, prevent injuries, restore a healthy immune system, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and facilitate overall wellness.
The benefits of neuropathy massage therapy
In the United States, massage therapy is often considered part of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), although it does have some conventional uses. It is increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found neuropathy massage treatment may also be helpful for:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Lessen depression and anxiety
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system
- Sports injuries
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin
- Increase joint flexibility
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation
- Paresthesia and nerve pain
- Reduce spasms and cramping
- Release endorphins-amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller
- Relieve migraine pain
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for:
- Decreased anxiety
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Greater energy
- Improved concentration
- Increased circulation
- Reduced fatigue
Massage therapy can be hugely beneficial to virtually anyone who takes part in it especially when it comes to injury rehabilitation. It can help to speed up healing and can actually help prevent re-injury in a variety of ways. In short, it aids athletes in healing completely.
There are a number of reasons massage therapy is a highly recommended part of any injury recovery plans.
General benefits of massage
Massage therapy is beneficial for athletes even if they haven’t injured themselves because it can help relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body.
Deep tissue massages are the most recommended option and they can help to release fluids and tension within the muscles. With this option, the results are generally delayed, but the following day athletes report feeling noticeably better.
Five ways massage can help athletes recover from injuries
In addition to the general benefits of massage, injured athletes can expect massage to help in these five ways as well.
- Better overall nutrition in the muscles. Put simply, the muscles will be healthier and circulation will be improved. During or after a massage, an athlete will have a boost in the interchange of substances between the cells of the tissue and the blood. The result is increased tissue metabolism. Massage can help maximize nutrients and oxygen by increasing blood flow. Together this can all help the body repair itself.
- Improved muscle flexibility. The better an athlete’s range of motion and the more flexible their muscles are, the more power and performance they’ll have. This helps athletes work out more efficiently and to keep the intensity at a safe level. It also helps their body’s muscle-building to improve.
- Shortened recovery time. Lactic acid and carbonic acid are just two of the waste products that can build up within the muscles post-exercise. When circulation is increased to these muscles, they can more quickly get rid of these toxins, and recovery time between workouts can be shortened.
- Help with preventing over-training. Muscles need to relax, and massage can help them do that. Sports massage also acts somewhat like a sedative on the athlete’s nervous system, which can help the syndrome known as “over-training.” When athletes over train, they can’t build muscles as effectively.
- Prevention of future injuries. When a massage therapist stretches the connective tissue, it helps improve the circulation to help prevent adhesions. It can also influence how much of certain chemicals are excreted, including phosphorous, sulfur, and nitrogen. These chemicals are all needed for the body’s tissue to repair itself.
The different types of massage therapy
There isn’t just a single type of massage therapy. In fact, there are literally hundreds of options. Here is a look at some of the most popular techniques often used for injury recovery.
- Swedish massage. This is what most people think of when they imagine massage. The purpose is to relax the whole body. Swedish massage therapists rub the muscles with long strokes, following the direction blood takes to get back to the heart. It can also be helpful to increase the level of oxygen in the blood, lowering muscle toxins, aiding flexibility, boosting circulation, and removing tension.
- Trigger point massage therapy. Trigger points are areas within muscle tissue that are tight and cause pain in a different part of the body. This option is geared toward getting rid of the source of pain. It uses a series of pressure and releases maneuvers, during which the person being massaged actively participates by breathing deeply and noting where and how much it hurts.
- Deep tissue massage. This is similar to Swedish massage but, as the name implies, it users deeper pressure that helps to release tension even further. Deep tissue massage therapists focus on the deep layers of muscles and tendons.
- Sports massage. Specifically designed for athletes, sports massage techniques vary based on the sport the client plays. Generally, the sports massage therapist will focus on the areas of the body that athletes in that particular sport generally overuse.
Sports Injury Massage
- Patellofemoral Syndrome. The majority of sports injuries involve the lower body, particularly knee injuries.
- Shoulder Injury. …
- Tennis or Golf Elbow. …
- Hamstring Strain. …
- Sciatica. …
- Shin Splints. …
- Groin Pull. …
- Sprains. Overstretching or tearing the ligaments results in a sprain. …
- Strains. Overstretching or tearing muscles or tendons results in a sprain. …
- Knee injuries. …
- Swollen muscles. …
- Achilles tendon rupture. …
- Fractures. …
- Dislocations. …
- Rotator cuff injury.
From a sprained ankle or twisted knee to muscle spasms or broken bones, massage can provide the opportunity for faster recovery. … Deep Tissue Massage — helps flush lactic acid and other metabolic waste from your muscles, allowing more oxygen-rich and nutrient-filled blood to flow in.
An Athlete’s peak performance may be dependent upon the proper use and application of sports massage. More than a treatment for injuries, sports massage produces overwhelming benefits for athletes physically, physiologically, and psychologically.
Sports massage is designed to prepare the athlete for their best performance, reduce fatigue, and relieve muscle swelling and tension. During physical activity—especially strenuous—muscle tension builds up in the body’s soft tissues. Due to overextension or overuse, minor injuries and lesions occur in these tissues that can cause a great deal of pain and poor athletic performance. Sports massage helps alleviate pain and prevent such injuries that greatly affect flexibility, mobility, response time, and overall performance in athletic events.
One of the most common setbacks for athletes is delayed-onset muscle soreness, more commonly known as DOMS. This refers to muscle pain that typically develops several hours postexercise and consists of predominantly eccentric muscle actions—especially if the exercise is unfamiliar. Although DOMS is likely a symptom of eccentric-exercise-induced muscle damage, it does not necessarily affect muscle damage. Recent studies have concluded that sports massage may help reduce and prevent the often painful and debilitating effects of DOMS in athletes.
An Australian study involving 5 healthy men and women who performed a variety of new exercises, has concluded that massage played a key role in easing DOMS. “Massage was effective in alleviating DOMS by approximately 30% and reducing swelling.” Massage can reduce this through improved blood and lymphatic system circulation that assists in the removal of metabolites and other toxins.
Heavily exercised muscles may also lose their capacity to relax. This causes chronically tight muscles and loss of flexibility. Lack of flexibility is often linked to muscle soreness and predisposes athletes to injuries– especially muscle pulls and tears. Blood flow through tight muscles is poor (ischemia), which also causes pain. A regular routine of massage therapy is very effective in combating these effects of heavily exercised muscles.
“Muscular strain is a common sports-related injury with the potential to chronically impair performance when sound principles of injury recognition, immediate treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention are ignored.” When preventive techniques such as sports massage are applied, according to Glen A Halvorson, MD, severe muscular strain may be avoided.
Sports massage should be applied before and after athletic events, with many “maintenance” sessions in-between meets or competitions. Pre-event sports massage focuses on warming-up the major muscles to be used and improves tissue pliability. It also helps get the athlete in a good mental state for competition and prepares them to reach their athletic performance potential. Post-event sports massage is given following an athletic event and is mainly focused upon recovery. This type of sports massage is geared toward reducing muscle spasms and metabolic build-up that occur with vigorous exercise.
Integrated into a weekly training regimen, athletes may avoid DOMS, relax and revitalize muscles, and feel calmer and more focused before and after events.
Sports massages alleviate muscle tension. A massage therapist is able to target tight and tender areas—also referred to as adhesions—with high levels of force. This signals your nervous system to relax, helping to alleviate tension within the targeted muscle.
Sports massages improve recovery. A sports massage after a tough workout or game may improve recovery by increasing circulation. In fact, a study found that a massage decreased delayed-onset muscle soreness—the extreme soreness you get when exercising a muscle for the first time in a while—by about 30 percent.
Sports massages increase the range of motion. Have tight shoulders, hips, or other joints? A sports massage can target the stiff muscles that are binding up your joints so you can move through a greater range of motion.
Sports massages are more targeted than foam rolling. Foam rolling is great, but a roller can only target large, broad muscles. Even a lacrosse ball can’t replicate what a massage therapist can do with their fingers, thumbs, palms, and elbows.
Sports massages are relaxing and feel good. Is your body banged up from constantly pushing yourself? Or are you a bit stressed from your jam-packed schedule of school, sports, training, and homework? A massage can help you relax and alleviate some of this physical and psychological stress.
So when should you get a sports massage? In an ideal world, Nicola recommends getting one or two sports massages per week. If this isn’t feasible, then get a massage as needed or use a foam roller, which is a good (and free) alternative—although it’s not quite as effective as a massage as mentioned above. Also, make sure to give yourself 3-4 days between a massage and a big game to ensure your muscles are firing optimally when you need to perform.
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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.