Nerves have a special relationship with your blood for many reasons. There are two reasons that stand out:
- Blood removes waste products. Nerve firing requires energy, but after firing, there are byproducts called “metabolic waste” that shouldn’t remain around a nerve. You could compare this to trash around a house. Most of us have garbage services that assist with removing garbage from where we live. If something was to happen to the waste removal services, then it would be difficult for us to function. Nerves require the same service from blood — assisting with removing the “waste” and promoting a “clean” environment for the nerve to function.
- Blood contains the fuel that powers nerves. Our cars require some type of fuel or “energy source” to run, such gas or electricity. Nerves need fuel as well, and blood has the fuel in the form of oxygen. Our nerves have pumps that require oxygen to fuel these pumps so they will fire at the right times.
So if blood is important to nerves, what has the body done to make sure your nerves have enough blood?
When we think of our own fuel (food), we have set up an amazing system to make sure food is there when we need it. For instance, the farmer grows a large amount of food, vegetables or grain and sends the food through trucks or other means of transportation so it can be distributed to various stores. You then purchase the food and take it home where you can store it in cupboards. When you need the food, you can remove it from the cupboards to eat immediately or take it with you to work.
The nerves have an equally amazing network that can both transport and “store” blood for your nerves. How amazing are networks?
- Nerves are always close to major systems of blood. If you find a nerve, you will find a large artery ready to provide blood to the nerve.
- Nerves have large “capillary” containers that are significantly larger than any other capillary system. This system has been likened to a “living container.” These capillaries not only transport the blood but store the blood at the same time.
- There is an intricate system that, when notified, will transport blood from one section of nerves to another section of nerves that need blood the most. Your nerves can shunt blood from one part of the nervous system to another at an incredible rate.
- Your body has an amazing structure put in place to both protect and support the small vessels that take the blood to your nerves after they have received the blood from major arteries. The pipes that bring water to your house may be strapped and insulated. Your body has provided a similar support and protection system for neural circulation.
How do I know my nerves may need more blood?
Nerves have sensors called the “nervi nervorum,” or nerve of the nerve. These small nerves may sense changes in the nerve environment and give you feelings of “numbness” or “pins and needles”. When we provide treatment at the Neuropathy Therapy Center (NTC), these feelings subside for many of our patients.
Circulation for nerves is extremely important. Please stay tuned for upcoming blog posts to follow as we highlight ways to bring blood back to nerves.