Nerves carry messages between the brain and the parts of the body. Sensory nerves carry messages regarding feelings – pressure, pain, and temperature, while motor nerves help the body move. Nerves in the hands, fingers, and wrists are fragile and can be damaged through pressure, stretching, cutting, or any injury to the body. When nerve function is affected, it can result in loss of movement or feeling. Orthopedic surgeons help determine treatment options, which in severe cases, may include surgery to the affected area.
Diagnosing Nerve Injuries
Your physician will ask you a series of questions and is likely to do a physical exam. The physical exam will including examining any specific areas of concern, especially as they relate to the reason for your visit to the office.
A common tool for disease screening, blood tests provide information about many substances in the body, such as blood cells, hormones, minerals, and proteins.
A single-fiber electromyography measures the electrical energy traveling between the brain and muscles.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A therapy that uses a low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. TENS is done with a battery-operated machine that's small enough to fit in a pocket. Usually, two wires that conduct electrical current are connected from the machine to the skin. They are often placed on the area of pain or at a pressure point, and they create a circuit of electrical impulses that, when delivered, decreases some patients' pain.
Surgery for Nerve Injuries
Procedure where the insulation around both ends of the injured nerve is sewn together. The goal in fixing the nerve is to save the insulating cover so that new fibers can grow and the nerve can work again. Once the insulating cover of the nerve is repaired, the nerve generally begins to heal three or four weeks after the surgery. In the case of nerve injury to the fingertips, the feeling of "pins and needles" is common during the recovery process. While this can be uncomfortable, it usually passes and it is actually a sign of recovery. Unfortunately most nerve injuries always have some permanent loss to the affected areas.