If you got out of bed this morning, saw the world, and took a breath, you have your nervous system to thank. Using electrical impulses and chemical signals for communication, your nervous system is a collection of cells that play an important role in almost all of your bodily functions. To eat, drink, breathe, and interact with the world, you need a healthy and functioning nervous system.
This is why it’s so important to protect yourself from nerve damage. Various ailments and injuries can lead to nerve damage, but luckily, there are many steps you can take to prevent this issue. Additionally, there are some things you can even do to repair certain types of nerve damage.
Here, we are taking a closer look at this miraculous part of your body—the nervous system—and learning more about how it functions. We are also investigating what exactly causes nervous system damage and ways you can prevent this hazard to your health.
What is the nervous system?
The nervous system is a collection of specialized cells that runs throughout the entirety of your body. In many ways, your nervous system functions like your body’s command center.
Based on function, there are two sections of the nervous system:
- The central nervous system (CNS); is composed of the brain and spinal cord
- The peripheral nervous system (PNS); runs throughout the rest of your body, and is composed of nerves that give and receive signals from the CNS.
In tandem, these two parts work to communicate to allow your body to function.
What exactly does your nervous system do?
Well, almost everything. Your nervous system affects almost every aspect of your health and well-being. Primarily, your nervous system plays an important role in the following functions:
- Voluntary and involuntary movements: they coordinate both smooth and skeletal muscles.
- Sensory perceptions (sight, touch, hearing, etc.): they sense various stimuli with afferent neurons. They also react to stimuli by different neurons.
- Heartbeat: Depending on the situation, the nervous system releases hormones to regulate the heartbeat. This is to regulate the amount of blood released.
- Breathing patterns: neural networks from the hindbrain regulate breathing patterns. They do it by regulating pressure gradients in the thorax and abdomen.
- Coordination and balance: The cerebellum and brain stem of the brain, which belongs to the CNS, control coordination and balance.
- Critical thinking and thought processing: the cerebral in the brain controls all firms of thinking and thought processing
- Digestion: a part of the nervous system called the enteric nervous system, controls the actions of the gastrointestinal tract.
- Sleep: the nervous network in the hypothalamus controls sleep.
- Healing: the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the healing process of the body.
What is nerve damage?
Nerve damage results whenever your nerve cells are damaged by an injury, disease, or other medical condition. Doctors have identified four distinct types of nerve damage. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
- Peripheral nerve damage: This type of nerve damage affects your extremities like your hands and feet. This is the most common type of nerve damage for diabetic individuals and often feels like a tingling or numbing sensation. The symptoms depend on which type of nerve in this peripheral group is damaged.
- Autonomic nerve damage: This type of nerve damage can affect your heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, or sex organs. Symptoms of autonomic nerve damage may include nausea, loss of appetite, bladder or bowel problems, or sexual dysfunction. If not corrected on time, the affected nerve in this branch leads to disruption in that particular involuntary activity, it can be breathing.
- Proximal nerve damage: Proximal nerve damage affects the nerves in the lower body, primarily around the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Common symptoms include stomach pain, trouble remaining in a seated position, and pain felt throughout the lower extremities of the body. This type of nerve damage starts from one side of the body. It can spread to the other side if it’s not treated properly.
- Focal nerve damage: This type of damage occurs in just a single nerve. Commonly, focal nerve damage occurs in the hands, head, or torso. It can be in form of nerve entrapment, like in carpal tunnel syndrome, or increased pressure like Bell’s palsy. Symptoms include numbness or tingling in the hands or fingers, weakness in your hands, trouble with vision, or Bell’s palsy.
What causes nervous system damage?
Many different factors can lead to nervous system damage of varying severity. Whether caused by an injury, disease, or ailment, nerve damage afflicts the ability of a neuron to successfully communicate and perform its function. Typically, nerve damage feels like numbness, tingling, or mild to moderate pain; but there are different sources which include;
- In accidents, such as a fall or a car accident, nerve cells can be physically damaged.
- Repeated stress or pressure, like carpal tunnel syndrome on your wrists, can also damage nerves.
- Certain diseases can also cause nervous system damage, such as certain cancers, and diabetes. Even autoimmune diseases like lupus, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, are factors of nerve damage.
- Exposure to toxic substances can cause nerve damage. Toxic substances interrupt the normal axonal flow, leading to axonal degeneration.
- Nerve damage can occur naturally as we age. This is because as we age, we shed off nerve cells. This makes the nervous system slower and more difficult in processing information.
Can you prevent nerve damage?
In many cases, there are steps you can take to prevent nerve damage. They include;
- Regular exercise. This is for the quickening of the whole body and physically resolving blockages in nerve routes.
- Healthy, balanced diet. Most times good food is the best medication you can receive.
- Healthy lifestyle. This involves avoiding smoking and excessive taking of alcohol.
- Be active. This is to reduce every chance of accumulation of blood sugar in the body.
- Get sufficient vitamin D and B12. These vitamins help the nervous system perform better.
- Supplements that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid help in the better functioning of the nervous system.
- Relaxation and meditation help in relaxing the nerves. They also help in clearing nerve routes.
- It is a curative and preventive nervous system measure.
- Handle your feet with extreme care. There are many nerve endings in the feet. This is why the feet always show the first impression of nerve damage.
- Avoid using complex techniques during exercises, especially vigorous exercises.
- Stretch your body as often as you can. This strongly implies that your job requires constant use of your hands and legs.
Keeping these factors as part of your daily routine will help you maintain good health, and as a result, protect your nerve cells, too. For an extra boost, many people also take nervous system health supplements, such as Nerve Control 911, or anti-aging HGH supplements to give their body what it needs to maintain nervous system health.
Natural ingredients that improve the nervous system
Most preventive medications are the food we eat. Natural nervous system boosters tend to be more efficient with little or no side effects when compared to others. The natural ingredients for the nervous system include:
- Leafy vegetables: Vegetables are good sources of vitamins E, C, magnesium, and various B vitamins. These vitamin groups help in cognitive abilities.
- Broccoli: It contains glucosinolates. These compounds prevent the wastage of acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter. They also contain vitamin K which improves cognitive skills.
- Eggs: They contain a raw material for making a neurotransmitter for the brain. The raw material is choline. They also contain many B vitamins.
- Avocados: This is one of the fruits that has the widest difference between protein and sugar content. It also has vitamin K and folate that help prevent blood clots in the brain.
- Salmon: They contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have a strong role in cognitive functions and other brain abilities.
- Almond: There are brain-friendly contents in almonds like omega-3 fatty acids and large amounts of vitamin E.
- Pumpkin seeds: They contain antioxidants that are necessary for proper nerve function. These antioxidants include magnesium and zinc.
- Nuts: They improve cognitive ability, improve memory sharpness and prevent neurological disorders. Most especially walnuts contain omega -3 fatty acids.
- Fish: It contains omega-3 fatty acids that are majorly used for myelin sheath production. Myelin sheaths help in the faster conduction of impulses in the nervous system
Nerve damage occurs when your nerve cells are stressed, pressured, damaged, or affected by a disease or toxic substance. This damage prevents neurons from being able to communicate with one another, thus, affecting some of your bodily functions. The effects and symptoms are based on which neurons are affected. Generally, nervous system damage feels like tingling, numbness, or mild pain.
With so many different sources of nerve pain, it’s important to consult your physician if you think you may be experiencing this condition. It’s also important to take steps every day to protect your nervous system. In addition to exercise and a balanced diet, consider adding a nervous system health supplement as part of your diet.