Nerve damage from an injury at work can lead to devastating outcomes. A person suffering from nerve damage may not be able to complete all of their job duties or may not be able to work, period. They may suffer from chronic pain. Even daily activities at home may become difficult or impossible. It’s a very serious situation that injured workers in Illinois must both understand and have treated by an appropriate doctor ASAP.
If you have this serious of a work related injury, it’s really important to get an attorney in your corner who knows this medicine and can protect you. If at any point the insurance company delays your care it can cause permanent, life altering problems. So you must have a lawyer ready to go before they improperly cut off your benefits. If you want help with a case or just have questions, please call us any time at 312-346-5578 to speak with a lawyer.
The following is basic information about nerve damage that you should know.
Nerves and Their Functions
There are three main types of nerves in the body:
- Sensory nerves send information to the brain about our environment. We feel pressure, vibration, touch, and temperature through our sensory nerves.
- Motor nerves send information to our muscles that control our voluntary movements. Running, driving, and lifting are examples of voluntary movements.
- Automatic nerves control the involuntary or partially voluntary activities of our body, including our heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration, and urination.
Nerve damage is any kind of minor or severe injury that impacts nerve fibers in any area of the body.
Common Causes of Work-Related Nerve Injuries
There are hundreds of injury scenarios that can lead to nerve injuries, but here are some of the more common ones:
- Machinery accident
- Repetitive motion
- Vehicular accident (forklift, car, delivery truck)
- Falls from a ladder or scaffolding
- Cuts and lacerations
- Slip and fall
- Workplace assault
- Accidents in which part of the body is crushed or compressed
Resulting Nerve Injuries
Some of the common nerve injuries that result from those work events/accidents include:
- Partial or full paralysis
- Herniated disc, sciatica, and other back and spinal injuries
- Torn rotator cuff and other shoulder injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand and wrist injuries
- Facial nerve damage including Bell’s Palsy
Symptoms of Nerve Damage
How do you know if you have nerve damage? The symptoms of nerve damage depend on how severe the injury was and what part of the body was injured. Here are some signs of nerve damage:
- Burning sensation
- Sensitivity to touch
- Tingling or “pins and needles” sensation
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of movement
Treatment of Nerve Injuries
Your doctor may assess your nerve injury by conducting tests to see how well the nerve is conducting electrical signals. These tests are called electromyography and nerve conduction velocity tests (EMG). You may need to see a neurologist for additional testing.
Just as there are a variety of nerve injuries, there are a variety of treatments.
Prescription medications such as gabapentin can treat painful tingling and other symptoms related to numbness in the hands. For inflammation in the facial nerve (Bell’s palsy), steroids or antiviral meds may be prescribed.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or occupational therapy to improve nerve function and regain strength that you may have lost.
More severe injuries may require surgery performed by a neurosurgeon with the goal being to restore function to the affected body part. Some surgeries, like those to address carpal tunnel syndrome, may be performed in a doctor’s office with local numbing medications. More complex surgeries would be performed in a hospital under general anesthesia.
For longer term problems, you might need pain management treatment which in some cases could include a nerve block or a pain pump that will provide numbing medicine when the situation really flares up.
Once again, if there’s anything we can do for you, we are happy to talk to you for free any time.