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Can anyone explain this 1mm a day nerve healing thing?

TonyDiscTTonyDisc Posts: 26
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:42 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
One thing I do not understand fully yet is the rate that nerves heal. I understand that generally they heal at 1mm a day, what I do not get is - Do you have to wait for a nerve to reach the affected area of your body, or do you just have to wait for the nerve to heal the damaged part, and then the rest of the nerve automatically starts working.

For example, if you have nerve root damage, and a lesion that is about 10mm away from the spine. Your arm is not working. Does that mean, in 10 days the lesion would be fixed and your arm would work OR does it mean that the nerve has to grow over that lesion and then work its way down your arm at 1mm a day to renew all the nerve below that initial damaged part?

I hope that makes sense, its something i cant work out myself.

Thanks


Tony
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Comments

  • This sounds too forumulaic to me and unfortunately that's not really how the nerve works from what I undertand.

    But maybe I'm mis-reading.
    I've never seen this but I would have to go with the latter statement. I was told as my nerve wakes up, I will heal (i.e. get feeling back) closest to the point of injury (or my core). So my leg will get feeling much faster than my heel and toe.
  • I'll take a crack at it. The central nervous system is very complex and there is still much to be discovered about it.

    First a bit about anatomy: the nerve is made up of one long cell that runs from the low back down to the foot or from the neck down to the hand. Healing occurs from the the area closest to the spinal cord out...so in the case of a leg, the toe would be last to mend.

    Let's take the S1 nerve for example, that is being pinched off when the L5-S1 disc ruptures. The nerve will be damaged at the area where it exits out from the spine, but you may be feeling the pain and numbness in the big toe and perhaps down the back of your leg. The pain in the toe will not go away until the nerve has healed along the full length, from spine down to the toe.

    Think of the nerve as one big link chain. Links along the way can become damaged from the compression. Signals travel back and forth along this chain. If something happens to damage a link, the signal becomes interrupted and is not able to function normally. This can be either a motor or sensory nerve, or both.

    Assuming the nerve is not completely severed, it will grow new little rootlets that will try to reconnect. Sometimes the rootlets do not make a connection and a neuroma forms. This is a scar on the nerve itself.

    Here is a link to an article that explains briefly, nerve injuries.

    http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00016

    I hope this helps!
  • You rule! Outstanding explanation =D>
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