Render illustration of Nerve Pain title on medical documents

What are the Most Common Forms of Nerve Injury?

You must’ve heard at some point in time that a person is suffering from nerve pain. What does it mean? It implies that the person has sustained some sort of injury that has affected the nerves in the body. Different types of medical issues may be responsible for nerve injuries. This can range from a simple blunt force trauma stemming from a motor accident to a severe gunshot wound to compression due to a tumor. It is important that you have a good idea about the various ways nerves can get injured. This will allow you to get a fair idea regarding the prospects for recovery from the particular condition. Read on below to know more.

Neurapraxia

Neurapraxia is the first kind of nerve injury that will be discussed here. In this type of injury, the nerve maintains all the internal connections that it had with other parts of the body. There is no change in the anatomy of the inner nerve root. The injury merely represents a physiological block of conduction through the nerves in your body.

The most common example of a neurapraxic injury is using a tourniquet in place to prevent bleeding from some part of the body. This could be at the time of surgery or in a trauma incident to avoid too much loss of blood. If you have a tourniquet wrapped for too long in one place, it might cause permanent damage to the peripheral nerves located at the extremities. This is the main reason why surgeons prefer to sometimes let down the extremity tourniquet every couple of hours so that the flow of blood comes back to the area and adequately replenishes the peripheral nerves.

Another major example of neurapraxic injury is when an alcoholic person passes out and experiences what is commonly termed as “Saturday Night Palsy”. Usually, humans move about a lot while they are deep in slumber. This does not allow our nerve roots to get compressed into a single position for a long period of time. However, under the influence of intoxicants, a person may not be able to move around sufficiently, and might sustain a compression injury. The trick to avoiding a neurapraxic injury is that no part of your body should be in one place for an extended period of time. The chances of recovery from this type of injury is high, may be even permanent. Why is that? The answer lies in the fact that the anatomical structures tend to remain intact after the process.

Axonotmesis

Axonotmesis is the next category of nerve injury. Such an injury is caused when an interruption occurs in the anatomy of the body, disrupting the axons, the internal peripheral nerve structures. Thankfully, the external framework consisting of connective tissue still remains mainly intact.
Such kind of nerve injury is serious, and may need sufficient amount of regrowth of the axon. It is important that the damaged axon regrows along its path towards the target muscle that it has been tasked with controlling. In the case of an average human adult, the growth takes place at the rate of a single inch per month. One of the most common examples of axonotmesis injury happens to be those types of car accidents where the crush injury is extremely severe compared to a neuropraxia. Though the damage might be extensive, the possibility of recovery is high since the framework which tells the axons where they need to go is completely in one piece.

Neurotmesis

The third and final variety, neurotmesis, is the most severe and it occurs when there is a clear disruption or transaction of the axon as well as the connective tissues. This type of injury may be caused either by a knife stab wound or a gunshot. Surgical treatments should be sought out as early as possible since there is no easy way that a person could recover spontaneously.

Closeup of pencil eraser and black spinal stenosis text. Spinal stenosis. Pencil with eraser.

Spinal Stenosis Surgical Options

Spinal stenosis is usually treated via non-operative care methods. However, if they fail to illicit any changes in your condition, or if there is some form of neurologic deficit or fail, then surgical treatment is your best option. There are plenty of surgical options when it comes to spinal stenosis. They are presented below.

Replacement of Anterior Disc

It is possible to opt for a cervical artificial disc in case the stenosis occurred in the central foramen and/or canal, as well as the facet joints.  This nerve surgery takes place as a day surgery process, and the patient needs to stay in the hospital for one day. They can return to their regular activity status within a full week. The success rate for the procedure is also high, at 90%.

ACDF

ACDF, also known as Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, is believed to be the standard surgery to handle the problem of spinal stenosis. The outcome of this procedure is usually very positive, if carried out via the proper surgical techniques and the correct indications. In this case, the indications happen to be the same as disc replacement, but ACDF is usually the preferred form of treatment if the arthritis tends to be severe, affecting the facet joints, causing deformity at multiple levels, or if the surgeon tends to be well-versed in handling the procedure. The majority of surgeons are more skilled when it comes to ACDF than with an anterior disc replacement. Being a day surgery method, ACDF gets completed within a day, and you can get out after staying in the hospital for a full day. You won’t need to wait long to return to activity. All it takes you is a few weeks.

Posterior Foraminotomy

If the stenosis is found to be the result of a bone spur or a herniated disc, posterior foraminotomy is the ideal form of nerve surgery. It helps deal with the different symptoms of weakness, one-sided pain, tingling, or numbness. This sort of procedure may be conducted as a day surgery process, and usually makes use of a small tube. The success rate is very high at a steady 90%.

Most of these nerve surgery procedures are advantageous for patients suffering from spinal stenosis. The type of surgery required generally involves a combination of the anatomy of the patient, the current state of the patient preferences, their medical condition, and the preferences and experience of the nerve surgeon.

What is the Recovery Time After Nerve Decompression Surgery for Chronic Headaches?

Nerve Decompression Surgery is often a common nerve surgery conducted on numerous patients who complain constantly about chronic headaches and dizziness. A lot of people have questions concerning the healing and recovery period after the surgery. The truth is that the answer is quite variable and is based on various parameters. These are going to be discussed below.

The first thing you need to understand is that there are a couple of general principles regarding the process that need to be kept in mind. Preliminary among them is that every patient happens to be different as per their tolerance to discomfort and pain. There are some people who feel a lot of pain even at the slightest stimulus, while others have the capacity to experience greater pain. Moreover, the distribution and number of nerves that happen to be decompressed is also unique for every individual. Of course, if a person has eight of their nerves decompressed in a single sitting, it is bound to hurt more in comparison to someone who only had a single nerve decompressed.

Surgical technique is quite an important factor and suitable post-operative care needs to be provided in order to achieve the right kind of results with minimal downtime and discomfort. Most of the time patients report mild to moderate level of discomfort following the spinal decompression surgery. The majority of doctors prescribe anti-nausea medication and pain drugs to help the patients cope with the symptoms of the problem during the first few days and weeks after the surgery.

Most patients report that following the surgery they no longer have to contend with the problem of chronic headaches and pain. However, that is quickly replaced by discomfort at the area of the operation. After a few weeks have passed, the level of discomfort at the point of the incision begins to decrease and the patient begins to feel like himself/ herself once again.
Some patients tend to heal faster than others. In their case, the surgical pain rapidly diminishes to such a point that they do not require any kind of narcotic medication after the procedure. Now that the incisional discomfort has died down, the patient starts to feel like a brand new person. However, the only problem is that they need to avoid any kind of strenuous exercises for a period of three to four weeks. Slowly but steadily, her activity level is bound to rise to its baseline level.

During the process of recovery from spinal decompression, patients can drink and eat whatever they want after the surgery. Moreover, they can begin to shower within a span of 48 hours. Such a response happens to be common among the majority of patients. Nowadays, they don’t have to go back to the surgeon to get their sutures removed as most of them are dissolvable. Once a few weeks go by, you will feel new and refreshed!