our Health Index for More Subjects, Conditions and
(neuropathy) as a
Side Effect of Surgery
it happens. What can be done for relief?
Often, during the
course of surgery it is possible that nerves may
Causes of nerve damage during surgery include the
scalpel, a bruise that occurs on the nerve,
inflammation of the tissue around the nerve, forces
caused by patient positioning during surgery, or
prolonged contact with rigid surgical equipment.
Prolonged stretching or compression of tissue
surrounding a nerve hampers circulation and can
deprive the nerve of nourishment. These effects can
lead to nerve damage, which may be temporary or
Although anyone undergoing surgery runs a risk of
nerve damage, patients who have diabetes mellitus,
cancer, a vitamin deficiency, or a history of previous
nerve injury have an increased risk. Other risk
factors include smoking, alcoholism, obesity, a
preexisting limitation in joint movement, personal or
occupational habits that cause repeated bending of an
extremity, or a lengthy surgical procedure.
This damage can be the
result of all types of surgery.
In some cases the
nerve damage will go away over time, as the injured
portion of the nerve heals or the inflammation goes
away. In other cases, the symptoms are permanent
unless the nerve damage can be repaired.
surgical nerve damage:
tingling or numbness
in one area of the body. It may resemble
"pins and needles: It can result in pain,
which is generally a severe burning pain.
These symptoms may occur at the actual surgical
site, or in distant parts of the body as the damaged
nerve may supply these parts.
These symptoms may become worse due to sudden
movements or unusual body positioning, such as those
that occur during sleep.
The pain that comes from post-surgical nerve damage
will be treated by medical doctors with pain medication, even
for the Nerve Damage of Surgery
There are several drug treatments for neuropathy. There are
medications such as Lyrica and Cymbalta that are given cover up or block
the pain. Lyrica is an anti-seizure medication. It is used for neuropathy as
it stops the nerves from talking to each other so you don't feel the pain.
Cymbalta is a anti-depressant which is
used because it lowers a person's awareness and thus their awareness of the
pain. One drug occasionally used is Prednisone and also Elavil.
You have to continue to take the drugs to
get relief and drugs have side effects.
the body of vital nutrients and there is a problem withdrawing from it (see Prednisone)
Amitriptyline (Elavil) it lowers
the awareness of the nerve damage but as with all medications, they have side effects that don't enhance your
Additionally, Cymbalta as an anti-depressant can very often
be difficult to get off
without side effects. For info on Cymbalta & Neuropathy
Long term these drugs can cause more damage due to side effects and deficiencies it can create.
For side effects of the different drugs go to www.drugs.com
If you are taking any mediation that has a side effect of
neuropathy, you should talk to your doctor to see if there is an alternative
Combines a footbath with an electrical current. Claims
to open up nerve channels and stimulate circulation to the
affected area. It claims to stimulate the nearby calf muscles to contract and relax, enhancing the local blood flow to bring fresh nutrients to the nerves and help remove accumulated toxins.
No information on how it would address neuropathy in other areas of the
Cons: Cost. Inconclusive if this works for
everyone or why electric current will "rebuild" nerves except for
increasing circulation There are many anti-oxidants which will also increase
circulation. It also states it sends electric current up the foot through the
sciatic nerve and down again so it addresses foot neuropathy only.
Pros: The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture
has been known to help with the symptoms of neuropathy. There is
apparently an ability to improve circulation with this method that would give
similar relief. There is also acupressure which works on the same
principles as acupuncture. For more information go to
Acupuncture sometimes does not help with
neuropathy. You also have to continue to get treatments.
Alpha lipoic acid:
This is as an anti-oxidant which will help protect the nerves
so no further damage is done to the body. It
can help with the symptoms. In order to help it needs to be taken with Acetyl
l-carnitine. There is evidence that they work together well in helping the body
use nutrients to repair the nerves, but the vital B vitamins need to be taken
They will cover up the symptoms of
neuropathy similar to drugs and can make you temporarily feel better. You must
continue to take them. The body
doesn't use them to build healthy nerves.
There are problems with herbs. They can
interact with any other medications that you are taking. They can have side
effects. Herbs are similar to drugs in so far as (in therapeutic dosages as
found in the herbs that you can buy) they make the body do what it wouldn't
normally do. While you can use herbs in your salad and in tea without problems,
when you take herbs in a supplement, they are extracts which are far stronger
dosages. Herbs should be taken separately as if there is a problem, you can
isolate what herb is causing the problem. The combination of herbs found in
some supplements prohibits you from doing that.
Remember, herbs are not vitamins. They are natural
substances, but they aren't the vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids &
amino acids that the body needs to function, create energy and to repair
Herbs can make your neuropathy feel better, but aren't
used by the body to repair the nerves. Thus, you need to keep taking them to
continue the relief. There are some herbs which shouldn't be taken more than a
few months like Feverfew or Ashwagandha.
When taking any herbs, check with your pharmacist.
Pharmacies have databases where they can check for interactions and side
Glutamine & B6:
Although no scientific evidence, some people with chemo
induced neuropathy have said they had some relief.
Cons: There is, however, some
concern that it may stimulate tumor growth.
Anodyne Therapy: Infrared light to increase circulation and stimulate
production of nitric acid. It is supposed to relax the arteries and
eliminate free radicals. Pads are put over the injured areas. Pain is
supposed to be relieved with increased circulation and more nitric oxide in the
blood. Can treat common injuries.
Relieves the symptoms
but needs to be continued for relief.
Homeopathic Formula: Homeopathy can give
temporary neuropathic pain relief without side effects or interactions with
Cons: They relieve the symptoms but
don't address the
There are many different
creams available that will bring relief from neuropathy pain. They can be
applied as needed. Capsaicin is a common ingredient. It is used to
relieve pain for arthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, as well as nerve
pain. It can address the inflammation.
They relieve but you must continue to use it for relief. Doesn't
work for everyone.
Cold Laser Treatment or Low Level Laser Therapy:
will give relief from pain. It is non-thermal and won't burn the
surrounding area. It is trying to increase cellular activity. The laser delivers electric pulses to the target area which delivers a jolt
that matches the pulse at which the body perceives pain. It claims to
create a reduction in pain by causing the production of natural pain killer
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None of the above treatments
will build healthy nerves. You can cover up the symptoms and you can
increase circulation and you can make a person feel less pain, etc., but you want to build healthy
Rebuilding Healthy Nerves:
Pros: Healthy sensory nerves mean that they are
not painful. Healthy nerves means that they communicate and don't send wrong signals such as burning, hot and cold,
tingling when there is no reason for it. Healthy motor nerves mean that
they relay messages from the brain to the muscle so that they move
correctly. Nerves need to be healthy to function properly.
The body needs specific nutrients
(vitamins) to be able to build healthy nerves.
It may not give immediate relief, as the vitamins are
working at a cellular level and thus may take longer, but it
does address the actual problem and builds healthy nerves.
(For temporary relief while building healthy nerves, go
to Pain Relief Formula )
What can be done for relief?
We always recommend you take the approach of building health -
and nerves are no different.
Find out how to build
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