Peripheral Nerve Damage
While damage to the spinal cord can cause paraplegia or quadriplegia, other nerve damage can also cause quite serious and severe conditions. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord which runs down the length of the spine, but there are nerves connected to the spinal cord which branch out throughout the body. This system of nerves is known as the peripheral nervous system. There are 12 pairs of cranial nerves and 31 pairs of spinal nerves extending throughout the body. Some of these nerves contain only sensory neurons and some contain only motor neurons, while others contain both kinds. Therefore, these nerves are responsible for relaying messages regarding external stimulation to the brain and also controlling the muscles in the part of the body they are attached to.
Unlike an injury to the spinal cord, an injury to a peripheral nerve only affects that nerve and the muscles directly associated to it. Therefore, a peripheral nerve injury is unlikely to cause paraplegia or quadriplegia. However, it can cause permanent paralysis of the body part or area controlled by the damaged nerve. While nerve damage may cause loss of feeling and function, it can also cause extreme pain in situations where the damaged nerve is overly-excited by inflammation or external stimulation. The only remedy may be to dampen or destroy the nerve through surgery, nerve blocks, or medication. While this may stop the pain, it can also cause the complete loss of sensation and ability to move the limbs controlled by the nerve.
Autonomic Nervous System Damage
Peripheral nerves also make up a system known as the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for regulating body functions which we do not consciously control. This includes vital functions such as heart rate and blood pressure, as well as the secretion of hormones, sweating and other important roles in the body. Ordinarily, the two halves of the autonomic nervous system – the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, check each other and make sure body systems work properly. However, damage to the autonomic nervous system can cause a condition known as dysreflexia or hyperreflexia, which can cause autonomic nerves to either under-register or overreact to external stimuli. This condition can be quite serious and even life-threatening. Medication, changes in lifestyle and constant monitoring may be required on a permanent basis.
New York Nerve Injury Attorney
If you were injured in an accident and experience pain, numbness, tingling, or anything out of the ordinary, you may have suffered nerve damage even if you were not injured in the head, neck or back. You may need to consult a specialist such as a neurologist or neuropsychologist to receive an accurate diagnosis and proper care and treatment. Contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. in New York City for help in finding the right doctor and in obtaining compensation for your medical expenses and the other harm you have suffered.