Your central nervous system is responsible for your ability to speak, move, and think. It consists of the brain and spinal cord. Think of it as the major interstate highway in a system of roads. Your peripheral nervous system includes nerves in your body beyond those points. These are the roads that branch out from the interstate.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are trained in nerve system repair. They can reconnect injured nerves and perform nerve grafting if necessary.
Nerve damage of any kind can cause pain, weakness, and numbness in your hands, arms, legs, or feet. These symptoms can occur from a traumatic accident — a deep knife cut or a car crash.
Autoimmune diseases and some infections can also result in damage to the central nervous system and peripheral nerve. About 50 percent of people with diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy, damaging the nerves in other parts of your body that send messages to your brain and spine. In addition, a lack of proper nutrition and poor lifestyle habits can result in nerve damage.
All nerves connect to the brain. Follow the tips below to help keep your brain and the rest of your central and peripheral nerve systems healthy.
Get essential vitamins and minerals through the food you eat
Sometimes nerve pain results from an unhealthy diet that doesn’t contain enough key vitamins and minerals for brain and nerve health.
Vitamin B12 is necessary for the proper functioning of the myelin sheath, a cover that protects your nerves. This vitamin helps make new nerve cells. Without adequate levels, your movement is compromised, and you may develop neuropathic pain, numbness, and weakness in your extremities in addition to other symptoms.
Folate, a B vitamin, is critical to neural tube development in embryos that grow into the brain and spinal cord. Pregnant women must have adequate amounts.
Potassium and calcium are other critical minerals for your nervous system. They control impulses sent and received by your nerves. Calcium aids in nerve cell repair.
If you eat a heart-healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet, you’re doing your nerves a favor by flooding them with nutrients. This type of diet high in omega-3 fatty acids helps retain plasticity in the brain and spinal cord. Plasticity means the circuits in your brain are capable of change, supporting learning and memory. Junk food diets with lots of sugars harm the brain’s plasticity.
Outdoor time and sunlight
Getting enough sun helps your nervous system work by stimulating the production of Vitamin D. Dairy products and fish like salmon and tuna are also great sources of Vitamin D. Recent studies indicate that low levels of Vitamin D in older adults may increase the risk for stroke, dementia, and multiple sclerosis, although the research is not definitive.
Exercise, similar to the consumption of healthy foods, augments healing effects of the brain, such as helping to reverse the mental decline associated with age and providing benefits underlying rehabilitative strategies after brain injuries and SCIs, especially when implemented together with a healthy diet.
Exercise has many benefits for your health, including nerve health. It can aid learning and memory as you get older, in addition to helping you recover after a brain injury. It supports the structure of synapses in your brain, where all significant brain activity starts. Research indicates that exercise may help fend off mental disorders.
Call or book an appointment online with Coastal Empire Orthopedics today if you have nerve pain. Modern medicine can bring back your quality of life.