Nerves play a key role in body’s functions

By Brandi Schlossberg – Featured in the RGJ
October 14, 2014

Serving as the receivers and transmitters of information throughout our bodies, nerves play a crucial role in overall health and daily function. These bundles of fibers send signals to the brain, allowing it to exert control over both voluntary and involuntary bodily functions.

“A nerve is a biological electrical pathway to transmit information to and from parts of the body to perform and interpret sensation, movement and control,” said Dr. Edward Perry, neurosurgeon and fellowship-trained spine surgeon with Spine Nevada, which has offices in Reno, Sparks and Carson City.

“Nerves allow the brain to receive information about the world around us and inside our bodies in order to function appropriately and normally,” said Perry, who is affiliated with Carson Tahoe Health.

According to Perry, one common nerve-related medical condition is neuropathy, an issue that affects the receiving or transmission of signals and can be caused by diabetes or a deficiency in certain B vitamins. Other conditions that can damage or otherwise affect the function of the nerves include degenerative spine disease, direct trauma, repetitive use injuries and pinched nerves.

“A pinched nerve occurs when pressure is placed on a nerve, usually from swelling due to injury or pregnancy, and can result in pain, weakness, numbness or paralysis,” said Dr. Deven Khosla, a neurosurgeon with Sierra Neurosurgery Group, which is based in Reno with clinics throughout Northern Nevada. “Symptoms may be felt in areas far from the actual site of damage – a phenomenon called referred pain.

“Referred pain can happen when the damage causes altered signaling to other areas.” Khosla added. “Examples of this would be sciatica and disk herniation causing nerve root compression.”

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Nerves play a key role in body’s functions