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What Causes Nerve Pain On Left Side Of Body

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The Peripheral Nervous System

Common Causes Of Abdomen Pain On The Left Side

The peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves that lie outside the central nervous system .

It includes different types of nerves with their own specific functions, including:

  • sensory nerves responsible for transmitting sensations, such as pain and touch
  • motor nerves responsible for controlling muscles
  • autonomic nerves responsible for regulating automatic functions of the body, such as blood pressure and bladder function

How Can This Pain Be Managed

If your doctor is able to identify an underlying cause for the neuropathic pain, treating it may reduce and even eliminate the pain.

For example, diabetes is a common cause of neuropathic pain. Proper diabetes care which includes a healthy diet and regular exercise may eliminate or reduce neuropathic pain.

Taking care of blood sugar levels can also prevent worsening pain and numbness.

What Is A Pinched Nerve

A pinched nerve occurs when excessive pressure is placed on one of the bodys nerves by surrounding tissues. Any inflamed, diseased, or misaligned tissue can compress the nerves, including muscles, tendons, cartilage, bones, and intervertebral discs. Tumours and other growths can also cause a pinched nerve.

When a nerve is pinched, it can disrupt its function leading to numbness, pain, tingling, or muscle weakness. The precise nature of these symptoms will depend on the nerves that are affected.

If you had a herniated disc that was compressing the sciatic nerve in the lower back, you might have symptoms that affect the legs or feet. If a swollen muscle is compressing a nerve in your forearm, you may experience symptoms in your hands.

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What Is Nerve Pain

Nerve pain, also called neuralgia or neuropathic pain, occurs when a health condition affects the nerves that carry sensation to the brain. It is a particular type of pain that feels different from other kinds of pain.

There are different types of nerve pain, including:

  • post-herpetic this can happen after you’ve had shingles and affects the same area as the shingles rash
  • trigeminal causing pain in the jaw or cheek
  • occipital causing pain at the base of your skull that can spread to the back of your head
  • pudendal causing pain in the saddle area between the legs

Pain On Left Side: Causes Treatments And When To See A Doctor

Left Side Sciatic Nerve Pain Treatment

Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer Health

Any kind of acute or chronic pain in the left side of your chest or the left side of the abdomen can be a cause for concern. The left side of your upper body contains many vital organs like your heart, left lung, spleen, pancreas, part of your liver and stomach. Infection, disease, or blocked arteries can cause pain ranging from mild discomfort to sharp, stabbing pains in the left side of your body.

Pain on the left side of your body isnt always cardiac-related or connected with an organ. Sometimes, stress or anxiety attacks can be a cause of the pain that may feel like you are having a heart attack. But you should never ignore any kind of pain in your chest or abdomen as it can be a sign of a serious condition.

In this comprehensive article on pain in the left side of your body, you will find out the various reasons why you could have aches, pains, or discomfort in the left side of your body. This will help you know what is causing the left-side pain and if it is serious enough to see a doctor. You will also find many helpful home remedies to relieve some of the causes of pains on the left side of your body.

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When Is Surgery Considered

Spinal surgery is usually not recommended unless you have not improved with other treatment methods such as stretching and medication, your pain is worsening, you have severe weakness in the muscles in your lower extremities or you have lost bladder or bowel control.

How soon surgery would be considered depends on the cause of your sciatica. Surgery is typically considered within a year of ongoing symptoms. Pain that is severe and unrelenting and is preventing you from standing or working and youve been admitted to a hospital would require more aggressive treatment and a shorter timeline to surgery. Loss of bladder or bowel control could require emergency surgery if determined to be cauda equine syndrome.

The goal of spinal surgery for sciatic pain is to remove the pressure on the nerves that are being pinched and to make sure the spine is stable.

Surgical options to relieve sciatica include:

Microdiscectomy: This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove fragments of a herniated disk that are pressing on a nerve.

  • Laminectomy: In this procedure, the lamina that is causing pressure on the sciatic nerve is removed.

Conditions That Cause Nerve Pain

Many conditions — such as diabetes, shingles, and cancer — may cause injury and nerve pain. Some people develop nerve pain for no known reason.

It is important to try to find the underlying cause of your nerve pain, such as uncontrolled diabetes, and seek appropriate treatment for it. It may help ease your pain and stop the progression of damage. But be sure you seek treatment for your pain too.

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What Are The Causes Of Peripheral Neuropathy

Most instances of neuropathy are either acquired, meaning the neuropathy or the inevitability of getting it isnt present from the beginning of life, or genetic. Acquired neuropathies are either symptomatic or idiopathic .

Causes of symptomatic acquired peripheral neuropathy include:

Genetically-caused polyneuropathies are rare. Genetic mutations can either be inherited or arise de novo, meaning they are completely new mutations to an individual and are not present in either parent. Some genetic mutations lead to mild neuropathies with symptoms that begin in early adulthood and result in little, if any, significant impairment. More severe hereditary neuropathies often appear in infancy or childhood. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, also known as hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy, is one of the most common inherited neurological disorders.

The small-fiber neuropathies that present with pain, itch, and autonomic symptoms also can be genetic. As our understanding of genetic disorders increases, many new genes are being associated with peripheral neuropathy.

Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis

Mid Back Pain, Left Side: What Causes It?

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, or DISH, sees abnormal bone development as the ligaments calcify and harden. Known as Forestiers disease, this condition is a form of arthritis, and the exact cause of the calcification is unknown.

Treatment primarily focuses on any symptoms. Exercise, pain medications, therapy, and surgery may be recommended. Surgery is done in cases where the airway can be constricted or obstructed by the hardened ligaments.

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When To See A Doctor

Pain on the left side of your neck that lasts for more than a week and doesnt respond to treatment should be evaluated by a doctor.

If you start to feel pain running down your arms or legs, or you feel a numbness or tingling sensation in your neck, see a doctor as soon as you can. Neck pain accompanied by a headache should also be evaluated promptly.

If neck pain is the result of an obvious incident, such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury, seek medical attention immediately.

How Do Nerves Work

Our nervous system is made up of two systems, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system .

The peripheral nerves take messages to and from the brain and spinal cord which interpret the messages and send a responding signal back down to the starting point.

There are three types of nerves in our bodies:

  • Sensory Nerves: These receive information on different sensations such as hot/cold, sharp/dull, light/heavy pressure
  • Motor Nerves: These control how the muscles work telling them when, how long and how strongly they should contract and relax
  • Autonomic Nerves: these control things like bladder and bowel function, heart rate and digestion

Damage to the nerves causes them to behave abnormally. They may stop sending messages altogether e.g. causing numbness or weakness, or fire erratically, sending excessive or incorrect signals e.g. causing pain or pins and needles.

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How A Pinched Nerve Can Cause Unexplained Abdominal Pain

The nervous system is one of the most complex parts of the human body. It is an organ system that contains a network of specialised cells called neurones, which connect the brain to various parts of the body.

The nervous system is responsible for several critical tasks including the coordination of movement, transmission of sensory information, reflexes, and the regulation the bodys internal environment.

The wide range of tasks performed by the nervous system means that any medical conditions affecting the nerves can cause unexpected or unusual symptoms like abdominal pain.

In this post, our London chiropractor explains what a pinched nerve is, how it can cause abdominal pain, and how visiting a London chiropractor for chiropractic care may help.

How Is Neuropathic Pain Diagnosed

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If your doctor suspects you may have neuropathic pain, he or she will ask about your pain and any other sensations you experience, such as pins and needles or numbness. Your doctor will also want to know about any events or illnesses that may have caused it.

Your doctor will perform a physical examination, testing the nerves in the affected area. They may touch the skin in the the affected area with cotton wool, toothpicks or warm or cool objects as part of the examination.

If your symptoms and physical examination suggest you have neuropathic pain your doctor can prescribe specific treatment for this type of pain.

To make a definite diagnosis of neuropathic pain, the underlying cause of the pain needs to be found. Your doctor may recommend tests including:

  • blood tests
  • nerve conduction studies or
  • an MRI scan.

Sometimes a biopsy can help with diagnosis. A skin biopsy or a nerve biopsy may be recommended.

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Symptoms Of Pain On The Left Side

Depending on the exact cause of your pain, you may have various degrees of pain. Sometimes, it can also be difficult to determine exactly where the pain is coming from.

For example, pain associated with your heart can be a dull constant pain that radiates to your left shoulder and neck. But sometimes, the extreme discomfort may feel like there is a heavy weight pressing on your chest. However, if you have kidney or flank pain, you may feel this on the left or right side of your back, but the pain can also travel down to your abdomen and groin.

Inflammation of your breastbone or tissue around the heart can cause sharp pains in your left chest that feels worse when you breathe in. The inflammation can also cause dull aches in your chest that cause general discomfort.

Very often, digestive problems like constipation, excess gas, or inflammation in the intestines can cause sharp pains that seem to move around your abdominal area. However, sharp stabbing pains in the left side of the abdomen could indicate a serious problem with your spleen or pancreas.

It is also important to tell the difference between cardiac-related pain and non-cardiac pain. Stress and panic attacks can bring on painful symptoms as if your heart is about to stop beating. However, the racing heartbeat that usually comes with a panic attack can also put extra strain on your heart and cause severe aching in your left chest.

Pain On The Left Side Of Your Body Might Mean A Lot Of Things Heres What Might Be Going On And When You Need To Worry About The Pain On This Area

When you have pain anywhere, it can make you very worried. But when you have pain on left side of body, and thats the only place, you might start to wonder just what is going on there.The pain you feel might be sharp, or it might be a dull aching. It might be there all the time, or it might come and go. In many cases, pain on this area turns out to be a chronic condition, which makes it even more important to find answers about why you are hurting so much.

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How Is The Cause Of Nerve Pain Found

There are so many orthopaedic conditions that overlap between pain stemming from problems with tendons, muscles, joints and nerves that you need a very discerning physician to do a good physical exam to figure out the cause, says Dr. King. I make my determination based on when the patient experiences pain, where the pain is located and what the pain feels like.

Pain related to joints, such as from arthritis, will feel more like stiffness when going from sitting to standing. With tendon pain, it will feel sore when you push on the affected area. Nerve pain is more of a burning, fiery pain, says Dr. King. And it tends to come and go.

Nerve pain typically gets worse with more and more use and can be associated with numbness, says Dr. King.

Ultimately, getting the right treatment depends on getting the right diagnosis. For many bone and joint conditions, nondrug treatment will be tried first. Sometimes pain medication is needed. However, neuropathic pain does not respond to drugs commonly used for nociceptive pain, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.

Panic Or Anxiety Attack

What’s Causing Pain On My Left Side?

A panic attack is often accompanied by crushing chest pains that can feel like a heart attack. Feeling a racing heartbeat, uncontrollable shivering, and stabbing chest pains can be a frightening experience.

One of the reasons that anxiety attacks cause chest pain is described by Dr. Jeff Huffman from the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry. Panic attacks cause muscles and nerves in your upper body to tighten which can cause painful spasms in the right or left side of the chest. Also, the high blood pressure and racing heartbeat can put more strain on your heart, which in itself can lead to chest pain.11

Thankfully, there are many natural ways to reduce the severity and frequency of panic attacks. Many people use serotonin supplements to help control anxiety and therefore reduce the number of anxiety attacks they have. Because panic attacks are often a symptom of depression, you could also try natural remedies for depression to help you cope better.

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What Treatments Are Available

Treatments depend entirely on the type of nerve damage, symptoms, and location. Your doctor will explain how nerve damage is causing specific symptoms and how to minimize and manage them. With proper education, some people may be able to reduce their medication dose or manage their neuropathy without medications. Definitive treatment can permit functional recovery over time, as long as the nerve cell itself has not died.

Addressing neuropathys causes. Correcting underlying causes can result in the neuropathy resolving on its own as the nerves recover or regenerate. Nerve health and resistance can be improved by healthy lifestyle habits such as maintaining optimal weight, avoiding toxic exposures, eating a balanced diet, and correcting vitamin deficiencies. Smoking cessation is particularly important because smoking constricts the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the peripheral nerves and can worsen neuropathic symptoms. Exercise can deliver more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to far-off nerve endings, improve muscle strength, and limit muscle atrophy. Self-care skills in people with diabetes and others who have an impaired ability to feel pain can alleviate symptoms and often create conditions that encourage nerve regeneration. Strict control of blood glucose levels has been shown to reduce neuropathic symptoms and help people with diabetic neuropathy avoid further nerve damage.

Specific symptoms can usually be improved

Foot Neuropathy From Spinal Problems

Nerve pain in the foot often comes from a problem in the back, rather than in the foot itself. At the base of the spine, five nerves exit the spine and join together to form the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve travels down through the buttock and the back of the leg, branching out as it spreads further down through the leg and into the foot.

If the sciatic nerve is squashed anywhere along its path, it interrupts the signals travelling up and down the nerves to the spinal cord resulting in pain, weakness, tingling or numbness anywhere in the leg and down in to the foot.

The two most common problems in the lower back that can damage the sciatic nerve and thus cause nerve pain in foot are:

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Work Posture And Body Mechanics

  • Organize your work so that you can change your position occasionally while maintaining a comfortable posture.
  • Position your work so you do not have to turn excessively to either side.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed when your arms are hanging by your sides.
  • When using a keyboard, keep your forearms parallel to the floor or slightly lowered and keep your fingers lower than your wrists. Allow your arms and hands to move freely. Take frequent breaks to stretch your fingers, hands, wrist, shoulders, and neck. If you use a wrist pad during breaks from typing, it’s best to rest your palm or the heel of your hand on the support, rather than your wrist.

When To Contact A Doctor

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If a person is experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack, they need medical attention immediately.

A person should also seek medical attention as soon as possible if they are experiencing any symptoms of a kidney infection. If they do not receive treatment, the infection can worsen and lead to sepsis.

In general, it is important to consult a doctor if the pain does not go away with home treatment or disrupts daily life.

Depending on a persons symptoms and medical history, a doctor may recommend a visit to a specialist for a more thorough investigation.

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