What Causes Nerve Damage: Everything You Need to Know

Approximately 30% of all cases of nerve pain (neuropathic pain) are caused by diabetes, although it can also be caused by other conditions such as alcoholism and shingles. Medications, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, and surgical intervention are all potential treatment options.

What is Neuropathic Pain?

Damage to or malfunctioning of the nerve system can result in a painful condition known as neuropathic pain. It is possible to experience pain in the spinal cord, brain, and other higher centers of the nervous system. The brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system when taken as a whole. The rest of your body, like your organs, limbs, extremities, fingers, and toes, are controlled by your peripheral nervous system.

When nerve fibers get damaged, it causes the brain to receive false pain signals. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, nerve function may change not only at the location of the injury but also in other parts of the brain and spinal cord (central sensitization).

Neuropathy is any condition in which one or more nerves lose or gain function. About 30% of all occurrences of neuropathy can be traced back to diabetes. When dealing with neuropathic pain, pinpointing its origin might be difficult. This kind of discomfort is associated with a plethora of different disorders.

What Are Some of the Sources of Nerve Damage?

Diseases that might induce neuropathic pain include:

  • HIV infection often known as AIDS.
  • Problems with the facial nerves.
  • (Pain that persists after your shingles attack is known as postherpetic neuralgia.)
  • Syndrome of complex regional pain.
  • Stroke, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other central nervous system problems

Other factors include:

  • Radiation treatment.
  • Chemotherapy medications (cisplatin, paclitaxel, vincristine, etc.).
  • Amputation might result in phantom agony.
  • Compression or inflammation of the spinal cord.
  • Trauma or surgery that causes nerve injury.
  • Tumor invasion or nerve compression.


Nerve injury is very prevalent, and diabetes is the leading cause. If you have diabetes, your nerves may get bigger and hurt when they press on your blood vessels. Since sensory nerves are fragile, the affected area could lose its sense of touch or weaken. Diabetes, however, can sometimes hurt the nerves that control the body's functions and the nerves that control movement.

Infectious Disease

Nerves can be damaged by infectious disorders like HIV/AIDS, herpes viruses, hepatitis C, and Lyme disease because they cause inflammation and slowly erode the immune system. This may cause numbness, weakness, and other symptoms in the affected area. Although chronic infections take longer to manifest, they are steadily worsening and frequently lethal.


When tumors grow into or press on nerves, they can cause toxic effects on the nervous system. Certain kinds of cancer, such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma, can also cause neuropathy as a symptom. This may lead to numbness or weakness in the affected region. Nutritional deficits, which cancer often causes, have been linked to impaired nerve function. In some situations, treatments used for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can also contribute to nerve damage and discomfort.

Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune diseases like lupus, inflammatory bowel disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and multiple sclerosis can also damage nerves and make people feel bad. It's because the immune system, in cases of autoimmunity, can mistakenly attack nerves and cause harm. This can lead to a loss of sensation or weakening in the affected area.


Nerves can be crushed and damaged in traumatic events like vehicle accidents and falls. This can cause a loss of sensation or weakness in the affected area. Surgery, herniated discs, carpal tunnel syndrome, and bone spurs are just a few causes of nerve compression.


Chemotherapy and HIV treatment are two examples of pharmaceuticals that might harm the nervous system. Excess alcohol drinking has also been related to producing nerve damage. In addition, arsenic, lead, and mercury, all common household poisons, can cause permanent nerve damage if ingested accidentally. As a result, the affected area may become numb or weak.

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