When we’re experiencing pain, it’s common to point at our nerves. But all nerves aren’t the same. Yes, they do trigger the sensations that our brain then translates into pain, but they also have lots of other jobs throughout the body that you have no idea they are doing, things such as breathing, maintaining your body temperature, even regulating your blood pressure.
Since Dr. Trujillo and our team at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic deal with nerves every day, here’s a little primer on them.
Are there different types of nerves?
There are nerves in our brain and spinal cord, and there are the peripheral nerves, which are located throughout the rest of the body. Our nervous system has three types of nerves:
- Autonomic nerves— These nerves control the involuntary or partially voluntary functions in your body. These include heart rate, digestion, temperature regulation, blood pressure, and others. While you can occasionally become conscious of something like your heart rate, usually it’s just doing its own thing as controlled by autonomic nerves.
- Motor nerves— These nerves control your movements and actions by coordinating your muscles. The nerves send information from your brain and spinal cord out to your muscles. As an interesting note, Botox, the famed wrinkle remover, works on these nerves by blocking the nerve messages from the brain. This keeps muscles from contracting.
- Sensory nerves— OK, these are the nerves we cuss at when we bang our funny bone, get a paper cut, or roll an ankle. These nerves relay information from your skin and muscles back to your spinal cord and brain. The brain then processes the information and you feel pain or other sensations.
Nerve pain and damage
While we all know the symptoms of sensory nerve pain and damage, what about autonomic and motor nerves pain or damage?
Symptoms of autonomic nerve damage:
- Inability to sense chest pain, such as angina
- Excessive or deficient sweat production
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Bladder dysfunction
- Sexual dysfunction
Symptoms of motor nerve damage:
- Muscle atrophy
If your nerves aren’t being your friends and you’re dealing with ongoing pain, we’re the place to turn. Call the team at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic, (928) 532-1605, to make an appointment.