Nerve pain can be caused by a variety of conditions including autoimmune diseases, cancer, trauma, diabetes, drug side effects, motor neuron diseases and nutritional deficiencies. Pain becomes increasingly common with age, says WebMD.
The three types of nerves include autonomic, motor and sensory. Autonomic nerves control heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and temperature regulation. Motor nerves control movement and pass information from the brain and spinal cord to muscles. Sensory nerves allow pain and sensations to be felt by relaying information from the skin and muscles to the brain and spinal cord, according to WebMD.
Symptoms of nerve pain depend on the type of nerve damaged. Autonomic nerve pain may produce sexual and bladder dysfunction, constipation, dry eyes and mouth, light-headed feelings, and excessive or insufficient sweating. Motor nerve damage can cause weakness, muscle atrophy, twitching and paralysis. Sensory nerve damage can produce numbness, burning feelings and problems with positional awareness, claims WebMD. Some patients may experience multiple symptoms, indicating damage to multiple types of nerves.
Autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome attack peripheral nerves. Cancer may cause nerve pain when cancerous masses push against or crush nerves. Some cancers cause nutritional deficiencies that affect nerve function. Trauma and compression can pinch and damage nerves. Approximately 25 percent of people with diabetes experience nerve damage, which increases as the disease progresses, reports WebMD. Medications like chemotherapies can damage nerves and cause pain due to the harsh effects they have on the body.