ASU Research Project Could Bring Relief to Those With Nerve Damage in Upper Arms

Nerve damage, whether it’s in your spine or one of your extremities, can be very painful and limit your physical movement. Those who suffer nerve damage often report debilitating pain long after the initial injury and may be required to go on disability and stop working. For those suffering from nerve damage in the upper arms, new research from Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic could be promising.

How This Research Could Help People with Nerve Damage

A seed grant program between Arizona State University and Mayo Clinic has funded research into a pilot study that could help those suffering from motor impairment caused by nerve damage in the upper arm. Those with nerve damage to the upper arm cannot flex their elbows, significantly limiting their ability to pick up items, get dressed, and carry out most routine tasks. Through this research, scientists hope to develop an exoskeleton that improved upper arm function. It would respond directly to brain activity, much like an unimpaired arm. It would dial back the amount of assistance offered as users regain strength.

Common Causes of Nerve Damage

While this option could change how those with nerve damage experience daily life, it is still in the early stages of development. Treatment options available to patients with nerve damage vary, depending on the cause and extent of nerve damage. Common causes of nerve damage include:

  • Diseases, including diabetes, kidney disorders, and hypothyroidism
  • Physical trauma, including car accidents, bone fractures, and falls
  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Surgical and anesthesia mistakes
  • Work injuries, including those caused by repetitive motions or remaining in one position for too long

The Difficulty of Treating Nerve Damage

Those who suffer from nerve damage often have limited treatment options, and the options available to them tend to be costly. While skin and muscle tissue tend to heal fairly quickly, nerves heal very slowly—if at all. In many cases, nerve damage is permanent.

This means that most treatment options focus on rehabilitation and learning to adapt to nerve damage, rather than actually repairing it. This type of long-term treatment is often expensive, and getting insurance to cover expenses can be difficult.

Getting the Treatment You Need After Nerve Damage

If your nerve damage was caused by a work-related incident, a vehicle crash or another type of physical trauma, or medical malpractice, you shouldn’t have to bear the cost of treatment alone. Through a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury case, or a medical malpractice suit, you may be able to have your medical treatment expenses covered.

The type of damages you may recover depend on which type of case best suits your situation. For example, in a workers’ compensation case, you cannot seek damages for pain and suffering. It’s important to work with an attorney who has substantial experience with cases similar to yours.

Has Nerve Damage Left You with Constant Pain? We’re Here to Help

At Miller Kory Rowe, LLP, our goal is to get our clients the compensation they deserve. If you’ve suffered nerve damage as a result of a vehicle accident or medical malpractice, call our Phoenix office at (602) 461-8640 to schedule a consultation.

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