How to heal nerve damage

Updated March 23, 2017

The medical term for nerve damage is neuropathy. There are many causes of neuropathy, some congenital, other related to ageing. The first symptoms of nerve damage are numbness or a persistent tingling sensation. This occurs due to degeneration of the myelin sheath that coats nerves like a sort of insulation. Like any uninsulated wire, nerves experiencing such damage are prone to short circuits and misfires, experienced as pain or numbness. There are many approaches to dealing with nerve damage, though many only address the symptoms and few actually heal the underlying condition.

Address an underlying cause. Though nerve damage can result simply from ageing, there is often a root cause, such as diabetes, toxicity, radiation exposure, or physical trauma to the nerve. No method of healing will produce lasting results unless the root cause of the nerve damage is not eliminated first.

Mask the symptoms with pharmaceuticals. If the immediate discomfort from nerve damage is unbearable, using pharmaceutical drugs such as Cymbalta or Lyrica to treat the symptoms can provide the time for other treatments to work. Otherwise, it should be noted that pharmaceutical drugs have side effects that can offset their benefits, and can be habit forming.

Use herbal remedies. Whether in tinctures, oils, or pills, a variety of natural herbs are described as having beneficial properties that heal nerve damage. St. John's Wort and vervaine, in particular, fall in this category. California poppy and oats are also believed to be useful in herbal nerve tonics. Though they can take much longer to produce results, many have healed nerve pain with herbs. See Resources for more on how to prepare an herbal nerve pain remedy.

Get B vitamins. The only way to actually regenerate the myelin sheath surrounding damaged nerves is to give the body the nutrients it needs to do so. This means B vitamins, especially B1 and B12. It's fairly difficult to get large doses of these vitamins into the bloodstream, however, because they are water soluble and flushed out easily. Fat soluble forms are much more effective, but harder to find.

Grow new nerves. Simply creating new nerves to replace damaged ones isn't an option for most people, but scientists have successfully generated nerve tissue from nano-sized materiala, and hope to be able to reverse severe nerve damage that results in paralysis. Ongoing research into these possibilities makes it likely that this form of treatment will continue to become available for more people.

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About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.