How Long Does A Pinched Nerve Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4-6 weeks (Approximately)

A pinched nerve is a compressed nerve that causes pain, numbness or tingling in different body parts. A pinched nerve occurs when the surrounding tissues press on nerve roots. The medical term for a pinched nerve is cervical radiculopathy. In many cases, the reason behind a pinched nerve is a herniated disk.

The upper end of the spine is made up of seven small bones, or vertebrae, which start from the bottom of the skull and end down the shoulders. When nerves branch out from the spinal cord between the vertebrae called foramen, and when these nerves become irritating or compressed, it can result in a pinched nerve. It is a common condition that can arise due to extra pressure on the nerves.

How Long Does A Pinched Nerve Last?

A pinched nerve could last for about four to six weeks in general. In some cases, a pinched nerve can be cured in few days whereas in some cases it might take months for the nerve to get unpinched. However, the period may also vary from person to person depending on their immune system response, what is the cause of compression, or to what degree is the compression.

Pinched nerves could occur due to poor body posture, spinal misalignment, herniated disc, Carpel tunnel syndrome, nerve damage, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. A person can identify a pinched nerve by its symptoms which include- pain in the neck, weakness in the shoulder, arms, or hands, loss of sensation in the arms, hands, or both, or numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.

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Some several tests can be done to identify a pinched nerve. Doctors get these tests done to identify the degree of compression, or its cause, etc. The tests include the Spurling test, X-ray, CT (Computerized tomography) scan, MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan, and EMG (Electromyography).

A pinched nerve can be treated with or without surgery. A pinched nerve can be healed without surgery as well. A pinched nerve is not always serious but can be serious, causing serious pain or could even damage the nerves.

Treatment of a pinched nerveRecovery Time
After surgeryfew weeks or months
Without surgery nearly 6-12 weeks

Why It Takes So Long For A Pinched Nerve To Heal?

A pinched nerve takes time to heal and recover completely. There are various ways with the help of which pinched nerves can be recovered. In the recovery process, the symptoms start reducing and relieving pain.

Extra sleep and rest can be effective for healing a pinched nerve. While sleeping the body recovers itself, and if there is no serious damage extra sleep is enough to allow the pinched nerve to heal. Maintaining good posture is also important in recovering process.

Stretching and yoga are also effective for the treatment of a pinched nerve. Alternating heat and ice packs can help reduce swelling and inflammation in many cases. Using an ice pack over the affected area for 15 minutes and repeating the same thrice a day help in reducing the pain.

A pinched nerve takes about four to six weeks to get unpitched. Compressed nerves do not heal steadily but it takes time for the pressure caused by the surrounding tissues in the nerves to reduce and recover completely.

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Surgery is also performed in some cases to take the pressure off the nerve. The types of surgery vary depending on the area of the pinched nerve. Decompression is a surgical process for relieving and alleviating the pain caused due to impingement. Surgery might result in the removal of a small portion of the bone over the nerve root called the lamina, to give the nerve more space and reduce pressure.

Conclusion

There are several reasons for head and neck pain and one of them is a pinched nerve. A pinched nerve is not always serious, however, could cause nerve damage. When there is no improvement in the pain or other symptoms it is better to seek the advice of a doctor.

It is important to visit an orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon finds the root cause of the problem and diagnoses it properly and effectively. Surgery is also advised in some cases. When a pinched nerve is not diagnosed properly recurrences may happen in the future and need to be treated again.

References

  1. https://search.proquest.com/openview/68f6d47ebc8955681a2be4f01f8b0556/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=48412
  2. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/1003/1/012013/meta
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