Did you know that over 15 million people in the United States and Europe combined have some sort of nerve pain? When it occurs, it can be quite confusing.
At its worst, it can be excruciating, even debilitating. On the other hand, at best, it can be just slightly annoying.
Most of the time, individuals are unaware at what exactly brought on the pain. Additionally, they may find it difficult to describe the sensation they are feeling:
sharp pain, ache, radiating pain, numb, or stabbing pain. It can be extremely helpful to have a basic understanding of how exactly nerves work.
Anatomy of Nerves
Your central nervous systems is made up of your brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord is basically the “headquarters” for your nerves.
The nerves are routed to and from other parts of your body to the spinal cord. These nerves that are branching out from the spinal cord are called peripheral nerves.
Your spinal cord and the roots for your peripheral nerves are covered in a stack of bones called the vertebral column. A cushion-like disc, sits between each of these vertebrae.
There are 31 pairs of nerves that exit your spinal cord through the openings between the vertebrae and branch off to other parts of your body.
The point that the nerve exits the spinal (central) nerve is called a nerve root. Your peripheral nerves include both sensory and motor nerves.
Your sensory nerves help you to sense how things feel (hot, cold, hard, soft), while your motor nerves are involved with the movements of your body- both voluntary and involuntary.
In order to explain this even further, each nerve contains individual nerve cells. The cells are made up of an axon (the inner pathway through which info is sent), and a myelin sheath (a protective covering that helps to protect the nerve cell and to transmit info).
If there is an injury to any part of the nerve structure, it can result in nerve pain.
Types of Nerve Pain
There are two types of nerve pain: nociceptive and neuropathic.
Nociceptive Pain: nerves transmit impulses that signal an injury or damage has occurred to a particular part of the body.
Neuropathic Pain: the nerve is the part that is injured, which causes the impulses to be transmitted abnormally.
Nerve Pain Symptoms
Depending on the location and what has caused the nerve injury/damage, nerve pain will express in various ways. Some of those are as follows:
Increase in sensitivity at the skin level, in the area that is served by the nerve that has been damaged. If this is the case, even gentle touching of the area will be painful- maybe even severely painful.
Numbness along the pathway of the nerve that has been damaged. Usually, if this is the case, the numbness will occur in the location that is served by the damaged nerve.
This numbness could be intermittent or constant, and could occur in conjunction with a stabbing or burning sensation. It could get worse with movement.
Muscles that are served by the nerve that is damaged could become weak, or even paralyzed in extreme cases.
Nerve Pain Causes
Research has shown that nerve pain can be linked to a variety of medical conditions or exposure to specific chemicals. Possible causes of nerve pain include the following:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Lead Digestion
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Inflammation/compression of the nerve
- Herniated Disc
- Certain Medications
Additionally, some evidence shows that abnormalities in the central and peripheral nervous systems could play a key role in fibromyalgia, though the cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown. Medications that have been proven effective for treating fibromyalgia are also very effective at treating nerve pain.
Natural Treatments for Nerve Pain
Before you can treat your nerve pain, you must figure out what is causing it. If you have diabetes, do what you can to regulate your blood sugar levels, and if you’re newly diagnosed, try to get your body back to normal by exercising, maintaining a proper diet, and using herbs.
You should know that excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to nerve pain- therefore, cutting back or stopping it all together can be quite effective at naturally combatting your nerve pain.
Nerve pain can be caused by shingles, which is directly related to extreme stress. Learn how you can relax.
Learn how to meditate. Learn how to take time to focus on yourself and learn how to say no- you don’t have to be everything for everyone.
Problems with your hormones can also cause nerve pain, so make sure that you have your physician check your thyroid levels, as that could be the culprit. Even depression can cause stress which can lead to nerve pain.
Following are 17 things that can help to ease your nerve pain
1- Natural, green juicing- this will help to stop chronic inflammation and cleanse your body of the toxins that could be causing your pain.
2- Drink Plenty of Water- your body is made up mostly of water and when you get dehydrated, the process of inflammation starts. So, drink water even when you’re not thirsty.
3- Ginger- this helps to get rid of inflammation all over the body.
4- Turmeric- this is one of the best herbs to stop the process of inflammation and help you feel good again.
5- Herbs- herbs such as St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Crampbark, Vervain, and Wild Lettuce help to ease inflammation and also will soothe and relax your nerves, which helps in the process of healing nerve pain.
6- Omega-3 Oils- these are full of anti-inflammatories and help promote healing.
7- Skullcap- this herb helps to strengthen your nervous system and brings relief to inflamed nerves.
8- Lobelia- soothes, relaxes, and gets rid of tension that is a result of muscles placing pressure on your nerves
9- Black Cohosh- this works wonderfully in conjunction with some of the other herbs mentioned above- it helps to soothe and regenerate inflamed nerves and promotes healing.
10- Damiana- if your nerve pain is due to working out too hard or an accident, this herb works wonders.
11- Antioxidants- these are great for your overall health- consider taking Grape Seed Extract, Acai Berry, Avocado Seed Extract, and Camu Camu Fruit, as well as a host of others.
12- Acupuncture- this is great for getting your “good energy” flowing through your body again– additionally, take some time to learn Tai Chi or QiGong, as these can help you to build and circulate necessary energy.
13- Meditation- take some time when you first wake up and in the evening when you’re unwinding. Aim for about 15-20 minutes. This will help to calm your mind and body and therefore lead to the reduction of inflammation.
14- Walking- this is excellent for the mind and the body, it gets your endorphins flowing, as well as generates serotonin, your aches and pains will begin to disappear.
15- Yoga- by doing some easy stretches and getting your mind and body on the right track, this will ease nerve pain. Additionally, consider biofeedback and self-hypnosis.
16- Lose weight- being overweight or obese can cause inflammation- just losing a few pounds can lower your pain and get you moving again.
17- Get plenty of rest- when you don’t sleep, inflammation starts- figure out what is keeping you from sleeping and do what you can to start sleeping again.