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From Pins & Needles to Railroad Spikes

08 Nov

I’m taking a break from re-telling my story for a few episodes. Instead, today I’ll be talking about nerve pains.

Perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but that’s my job. With surgery, there will invariably be nerve damage. Some of it can be permanent. What it really seems to come down to is individual recovery.

As we’ve seen, recovery is a very individual process. Some people recover faster, others, more slowly. There are also different aspects to recovery. Today I’ll be discussing my experience with nerve recovery.

Over the last two – three months I have been gaining more sensitivity in areas that had previously been insensate (aka numb). Not all of it has been a pleasant surprise.  Over the last couple weeks I have been broadsided a number of times by nerve pain. In the past, that has consisted of a thin, bright pain as though I were being stabbed by long, thin needles.

Recently though, that pain feels much more broad or thick, covering a wider area. It feels like someone is driving a railroad spike into me.

Why does this happen? When nerve tissue in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is damaged or severed as in during surgery, it DOES regrow. According to this article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroregeneration) on nerve regeneration, small nerves can regrow at a rate of 2mm per day while larger can grow as much as 5 mm per day.

It is my understanding that the zappy/stabby pain is caused either by nerve damage or nerve regeneration. Or regeneration of a damaged nerve. I don’t have a definite answer. This seems to be as subjective as “recovery”. In the end, it seems only time will tell how much sensitivity my body will have.

 

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