Nerves are, basically, the body’s electrical wiring system. Nerves carrying messages, called “impulses,” from the brain to out muscles and organs and back. These impulses tell the parts of our body what the brain wants them to do. When nerves suffer damage from an accident or injury, the signals from the brain can be garbled or interrupted completely – depending on the type of nerve damage. The general medical term for nerve damage is “peripheral neuropathy,” which means that there is some type of signal disruption within the nerves.
Construction workers can suffer nerve damage in falls from ladders or heights or falling objects. Car accident, bus accident or truck accident victims or pedestrians can also suffer nerve damage. Nerves can be compressed by herniated discs, they can be stretched, or even severed. Any injury that irritates or pinches a nerve can affect the muscles or other parts of the of the body served by those nerves. An arm or leg may be paralyzed, or an accident victim may feel numbness, tingling sensations, or shooting or burning pain. In some cases, nerve damage to the lower back can result in loss of bladder control.
Nerve damage can be permanent. Once a nerve has been cut or severed, little can be done to surgically to repair it. A compressed nerve may be released by surgery to cut back whatever is pressing on it (such as a herniated disc) and an irritated nerve may heal with rest, physical therapy, chiropractic care or exercise.
The nerves serving our arms and legs run through the spinal cord and then branch out, like tree branches. Nerves coming out at the top of the spine or cervical area service our shoulders, arms or hands. Nerves coming out through our lower or lumbar spine serve our buttocks, legs and feet. The body areas so served are known as “dermatomes”. See the drawing:
(Click chart to expand)
Now you can see why a herniated disc injury in the cervical spine can affect the shoulders, arms or hands, and a herniated disc injury to the lumbar spine can affect the legs and feet. Therefore, this pain from a disc pressing a nerve produces a pain that travels or shoots to another part of the accident victim’s body. This radiating pain is known as “radicular” pain or radiculopathy.
Your doctor can diagnose nerve damage through a nerve conduction test (EMG or electromyography) which measures the signals traveling to the muscles from your brain.
In addition to radiculopathy, there are other types of nerve injuries, which can affect other parts of the body or other bodily systems or organs. An nerve injury accident lawyer can work with your doctor to present the base case possible for the client hurt in an accident who has suffered nerve damage. We serve clients in New York City, including the Boroughs of Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Bronx, and the Counties of Kings, Richmond, Queens, New York, Bronx, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess.
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