If you think of the types of injuries that can occur after an accident, you likely think of more visible injuries first. In addition to broken bones, bruises, and other injuries you can clearly see, there are many injuries that are not visible or may take time to appear, but which can be just as or even more serious. One example is nerve damage. The human body has over seven trillion nerves and nerve injuries can have severe and long-lasting consequences.
What Are Nerves?
To understand how nerve damage occurs and what its effects can be, it’s important to first understand what exactly nerves are and how they work. To put it simply, nerves send signals in your body and communicate with the brain and spinal cord. The exact function depends on the type of nerve involved.
There are three main types:
- Autonomic nerves control partially voluntary or involuntary actions, such as heart rate, digestion, and temperature regulation.
- Motor nerves send signals between the brain/spinal cord and your muscles, controlling your movements.
- Sensory nerves allow your skin and muscles to communicate with your brain/spinal cord, allowing you to process pain and other sensations.
What Causes Nerve Damage?
There are over 100 different types of nerve damage that can occur. Some of these are due to illness and are unrelated to accidents. For example, up to 70% of individuals with diabetes have some degree of nerve damage. Cancer, autoimmune conditions, and nutritional deficiencies can also cause damage to the nerves.
In the case of accidents, one of the most common ways nerve damage occurs is due to compression. For example, trauma to the neck can lead to a pinched nerve in the area. Nerve damage can also occur due to a spinal cord injury.
Impacts of Nerve Injuries
The specific issues a person experiences after nerve damage will depend on the type of nerve that was injured. In an accident, motor nerves and sensory nerves are most likely to be affected. Autonomic nerve damage typically results from a disease or infection, or as a side effect of medication.
Autonomic Nerve Damage
Autonomic nerve damage can result in sweating too much or not enough, dry eyes/mouth, sexual dysfunction, bladder dysfunction, and/or lightheadedness.
Motor Nerve Injuries
Damage to motor nerves impacts a person’s ability to move their muscles. It can result in muscle weakness, uncontrollable twitching, painful cramps, and/or, in severe cases, full or partial paralysis.
Sensory Nerve Damage
Injuries to sensory nerves can result in pain, sensitivity, numbness, burning, and/or a tingling or prickling sensation. The chronic pain that results from this type of nerve damage can be overwhelming and debilitating.
Compensation for Nerve Injuries
If you experienced a nerve injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. At Grabb & Durando, we can help you get the compensation you deserve and consider all factors that could be relevant to your case, including any chronic pain and ongoing medical expenses.