Years ago a landmark study proved that not all pinched nerves hurt. By looking at multiple cadavers, researchers found many flattened, pinched, crushed nerves that caused no evidence of pain in the person's medical records (Neary and Ochoa 1975). That really puzzled the medical community because the popular thought, at the time, was that all pinched nerves hurt . Since that theory was disproven, scientists have been trying to explain why some nerve damage hurts and some does not.
Within the past 15 years, many studies have shown the effects of inflammation on the nerve. Without any source of physical, mechanical pinching, a nerve can be damaged by the inflammatory chemicals. Such chemicals are equivalent to throwing acid on a nerve. That is why steroid injections work. The steroids block the chemical reaction and cool the nerve. However, some people know that even injections do not help all types of nerve pain. So, there must be more to this puzzle; inflammation is not the only...
Neuropathy - distal median nerve
Pain in the wrist or hand that wakes you up at night
May be severe Pain may be felt in other areas, for example in the upper arm (this is called referred pain)
Sensation changes in the thumb and pointer (index), middle, and part of the ring fingers, such as:
Weakness of the hand that causes you to:
Drop things Have difficulty grasping objects
Signs and tests
Your doctor will examine your wrist and ask questions about your medical history. The examination may show decreased sensation in the thumb side of the hand. This is called the "radial" side. There may be weakness of the thumb and difficulty using it to pinch.
Tests that reveal distal median nerve dysfunction may include:
Nerve conduction tests
Tests are ...
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) involves putting electrical currents into the tissues of the body. It may sound like a torture device. But it is actually used to treat pain. Doctors don't know exactly how it works. It is thought to create a sensation that overrides the pain sensation in the brain. These researchers tested TENS in patients who had a total knee replacement (TKR). TKR can be a very painful surgery. But medicine such as morphine shouldn't be heavily used in TKR patients. Too much morphine after surgery can cause other problems, such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, and reduced lung function. For this study, TKR patients were divided into three groups. For the first 24 hours after surgery, one group got the standard self-controlled doses of pain medicine. The second group got standard pain medicine plus TENS. The third group got pain medicine and false TENS treatments. (The wires were placed into the bandages rather than onto the body.) The researchers tr...
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