A nerve is part of the nervous systems that has two main components: the central nervous system made up of the brain, cerebellum and spinal cord, and the peripheral nerve system made up of nerves.
A nerve can be defined as a connector between the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the terminal organs (including the skin, the muscles and organs such as the heart and blood vessels, the stomach and the urinary bladder).
A nerve can be affected in many different ways:
- Disease affecting the nerve and specifically its surrounding protective shield known as myelin sheath.
- Trauma or injury affecting the nerve. In this case, the degree of severity ranges from a minor contusion to a completely severed nerve.
- Conditions in which the nerve is pinched inside of tunnels where it passes to reach the skin, muscles and other organs; known as nerve compressions.
Whatever the cause of a nerve problem, the nerve signals that something is wrong using common symptoms:
- Nocturnal symptoms (symptoms worsen when sleeping or laying down)
- Muscle weakness and wasting of muscles
If you experience any of these symptoms, one or many of your nerves may be experiencing a problem.