Recognizing the Early Signs of Nerve Damage

Recognizing the Early Signs of Nerve Damage

Just about everyone has experienced their hand, arm, foot, or leg “falling asleep.” If you sit in an odd position or lean on your arm for too long, you may feel a sudden tingling, numbness, or burning sensation when you adjust your body.

This feeling — often described as “pins and needles” — should go away shortly after you relieve pressure on the nerve. If you have nerve damage, however, that feeling may not go away on its own. 

At Southern Pain Specialists, in Birmingham, Alabama, Kenneth Varley, MD, an expert in nerve pain and nerve health, has seen all the signs and symptoms of nerve damage, and he wants you to know them, too.

Symptoms of nerve damage 

Nerve damage can manifest in many ways. Like many conditions, nerve damage typically starts mildly and progresses into a severe medical condition. That’s why it’s so important to recognize the early signs of nerve damage. 

Early signs of nerve damage include: 

  1. Random, sharp pains 
  2. Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  3. Burning sensations in your extremities
  4. Muscle fatigue or muscle weakness
  5. A “heavy” feeling in your arms and legs
  6. Drops in blood pressure 
  7. Spontaneous or excessive sweating
  8. Loss of balance 
  9. Weak grip or inability to grasp things
  10. Increased sensitivity to touch

Nerve pain can vary in intensity, so don’t discredit a particular bout of pain because “it wasn’t that bad.” All nerve pain warrants analysis, because the best way to prevent severe pain is to catch it early.

Treatment for nerve pain

There are a variety of treatments for nerve pain, and the therapy you may get will depend on what’s causing your pain. Nerve-blocking strategies can be successful, particularly for patients who haven’t responded to anti-inflammatory medications, massage therapy, or chiropractic care.

There are a number of types of nerve blocks, and each kind targets a specific issue. For example, a nerve injection for sciatica will differ from an injection for sacroiliac joint pain. 

To give a nerve block injection, first Dr. Varley uses ultrasound imaging to pinpoint the exact location to give the injection. Then Dr. Varley injects the anesthetic fluid into your joint. Your nerves then absorb the fluid, which numbs them and prevents pain signals from reaching your brain.