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Your nervous system is involved in everything your body does, from regulating your breathing to controlling your muscles and sensing heat and cold.

There are three types of nerves, or neurons, in the body:

Autonomic nerves
These nerves control the involuntary or partially voluntary activities of your body, including heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and temperature regulation.

Motor nerves
These nerves control your movements and actions by passing information from your brain and spinal cord to your muscles.

Sensory nerves
These nerves relay information from your skin and muscles back to your spinal cord and brain. The information is then processed to let you feel pain and other sensations.

Nerve pain and nerve damage can be mild. But, because nerves are essential to all you do, nerve pain and damage can seriously affect your quality of life.

Types of Nerve Pain
There are more than 100 different types of nerve damage. The various types may have different symptoms and may require different types of treatment.

More than 20 million Americans are afflicted with peripheral nerve damage. This type of damage becomes increasingly more common with age. In one out of every three people with peripheral nerve damage, the damage comes from diabetes. In another third, the cause of the nerve damage remains unknown.

While not an exhaustive list, the following are some of the possible causes of nerve pain and nerve damage:

Autoimmune Diseases
A variety of different types of autoimmune diseases can produce symptoms of nerve pain and nerve damage. These include: multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome (a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nerves), myasthenia gravis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Cancer
Cancer can cause nerve pain and nerve damage in multiple ways. In some instances, cancerous masses may push against or crush nerves. In other cases, certain types of cancer may result in nutritional deficiencies that affect nerve function. Additionally, chemotherapy and radiation may produce nerve pain and nerve damage in certain individuals.

Compression/trauma
Anything that results in trauma or compression of nerves can result in nerve pain and nerve damage. This includes pinched nerves in the neck, crush injuries, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Diabetes
About 50% of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage, which becomes more likely as the disease progresses. Diabetic neuropathy is a serious complication and may affect all three types of neurons. Sensory nerves are most often affected, causing burning or numbness. If you have diabetes and are experiencing symptoms of nerve pain or nerve damage, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible.

Drug side effects and toxic substances
Various substances that are taken into the body intentionally or unintentionally have the ability to cause nerve pain and nerve damage. These include medications, such as chemotherapies for cancer and certain drugs used to treat HIV. Toxic substances that may be ingested accidentally, including lead, arsenic, and mercury, may also cause damage to your nerves.

Motor neuron diseases
The motor neurons are nerves in your brain and spinal column that communicate with the muscles throughout your body. Diseases that affect these nerves, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, can result in progressively worsening nerve damage.

Nutritional deficiencies
Deficiencies of certain nutrients, including vitamins B6 and B12, may produce symptoms of nerve pain and nerve damage, including weakness or burning sensations. Nutritional deficiencies that cause nerve damage may also result from excessive alcohol ingestion or develop after gastric surgery.

Infectious disease
Certain infectious diseases have the ability to affect the nerves in your body. These conditions include Lyme disease, the herpes viruses, HIV, and hepatitis C.

Treatments
In many instances, nerve damage cannot be cured entirely. But there are various treatments that can reduce your symptoms. Because nerve damage is often progressive, it is important to consult with a doctor when you first notice symptoms. That way you can reduce the likelihood of permanent damage.

Often, the first goal of treatment is to address the underlying condition that’s causing your nerve pain or nerve damage. This may mean: -regulating blood sugar levels for people with diabetes -correcting nutritional deficiencies -changing medications when drugs are causing nerve damage -physical therapy or surgery to address compression or trauma to nerves -medications to treat autoimmune conditions

Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medications aimed at minimizing the nerve pain you are feeling. These may include: -pain relievers -tricyclic antidepressants -certain anti-seizure drugs

Complementary and alternative approaches may also help alleviate your nerve pain and discomfort, these include: acupuncture ,biofeedback ,hypnosis ,meditation.