What Are the Causes of Denervation?

Denervation occurs when there is a loss of nerve supply. It can be caused by a number of factors, in and out of your control. Diseases such as ALS and polio as well as physical injury can cause dernervation, negatively impacting your life. Denervation can also have a positive effect. You may choose to use chemical substances to weaken facial muscles and improve your appearance cosmetically. Doctors also use a denervation process in cases of chronic pain because it provides relief.


ALS or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis occurs when the motor neurons suffer from fatal degeneration. This causes weakness and atrophy of the muscles and eventually leads to dementia. In about a quarter of the cases, ALS starts with symptoms in the brainstem, such as trouble swallowing, and evolves into a weakness in the extremities. Because people with the disease lose their lower motor neurons, which connect the brainstem to their muscles, they undergo denervation atrophy.


A bout of polio causes denervation or the death of nerve stimulation. The disease results in a loss of motor neurons to a number of muscle groups. Even though you may recover, your muscles are left with fewer nerves and thus the sensations of nerve stimulation. As you age you lose even more nerves, which results in what's called post-polio syndrome.


Peripheral nerve injuries can cause weakness or paralysis. There may be a nerve block, which can be temporary; loss of the nerves' motor fibers, which is called partial denervation; complete denervation or loss of the muscle's nerve supply; or nerve deprivation from loss of the peripheral nerves' insulation. Physical therapy can strengthen muscles and improve performance.

Pain Relief

Some doctors perform disc denervation to relieve a patient's chronic pain. They use radio frequency to treat chronic disc-related or discogenic conditions. According to Arizona Pain Specialists, the radio frequency heats the nerves that are causing pain and destroys them. It also modifies some nerve fibers and causes the brain to stop recognizing the pain.


Denervation is also caused by chemicals such as Botox. The cosmetic process of injecting Botox reduces wrinkles like worry lines, laugh lines and crow's feet. With repeated facial movements, the delicate muscles under the skin contract. That's what causes signs of aging. However, chemical denervation eases the problem by weakening the facial muscles. This smooths out the overlying skin, creating a more youthful appearance. It's important to note that Botox will not succeed in getting rid of static wrinkles that are unrelated to muscle movement.