How Long Does a Pinched Nerve Last?

pinched nerve pain

Pinched nerves can be a real nuisance, causing pain and discomfort. They often arise from the body being in an awkward position for too long, or from repetitive movements that put a strain on the affected area. 

Fortunately, most pinched nerves will resolve themselves over time, but it’s important to understand how long they last and what treatments are available. 

So, how long does a pinched nerve last? Continue reading below to learn more and explore some of the common symptoms associated with this condition.

What is a Pinched Nerve?

Pinched nerves occur when nerves are compressed or irritated due to surrounding tissues. Pinched nerve pain is commonly caused by repetitive motions such as typing or working out with bad posture. Other causes could be degenerative diseases such as arthritis, bone spurs, tumors, or trauma from an injury.

A lot of people are familiar with pain in the nerves associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by tingling, pain, numbness, and weak feeling in the hand. That is how a pinched nerve feels like, but it can occur in other parts of the body too.

It can lead to chronic pain that can range from mild discomfort to intense stabbing sensations, and even permanent nerve damage. Depending on where the pinched nerve is located and the severity of the nerve compression, there are various treatments available for the relief of symptoms.

Pinched Nerve in Neck

neck pinched nerve

A pinched nerve on the neck is a condition that occurs when too much pressure is applied to a nerve. This can occur from either physical trauma, such as a whiplash injury, or because of an underlying medical issue such as arthritis or spinal stenosis. As a result, this can cause pain and other symptoms in the neck and surrounding area. 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck include:

  • Neck pain
  • Tingling sensation on arms down to hands
  • Numbness in certain areas of arms or hands
  • Muscle weakness and spasms

Pinched Nerve in Hip

hip pinched nerve

Pinched nerves in the hip area occur when a nerve gets compressed or irritated, leading to radiating pain and numbness in the affected area. The most common cause of pinched nerves in the hip is arthritis, though it can also be due to direct injury or repetitive motion activities. 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the hip include:

  • Sharp pain that radiates down the leg and into the feet
  • Burning sensation 
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Muscle weakness around the hip joint
  • Decrease in range of motion on one side of your body compared to other side
  • Difficulty standing for long periods of time without experiencing discomfort

Depending on where exactly within your body you have injured yourself, you may experience different levels and types of pain that will indicate what kind of treatment you might need.

Pinched Nerve in Leg

leg pinched nerve

A pinched nerve in the leg can be a very painful and uncomfortable experience. It is caused by pressure on the nerve from surrounding tissues due to overuse or misalignment of muscles, tendons, or ligaments. 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the legs include:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Burning sensation
  • Numbness that may travel down to the toes

The good news is that pinched nerves in the legs are often treatable through non-surgical methods such as rest and physical therapy. 

Home remedies like hot and cold compresses, massage therapy, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatory medications may also help reduce symptoms associated with a pinched nerve in your leg. In more extreme cases, surgery may be necessary if other treatments fail to provide relief.

Pinched Nerve in Shoulder

shoulder pinched nerve

A pinched nerve in the shoulder is a common injury that causes excruciating pain, discomfort, and limited movement. As the name implies, it occurs when one of the nerves in the shoulder area is compressed by surrounding ligaments, tendons, or bones. This compression can affect a person’s ability to move their shoulder freely and can impair their range of motion. 

The most typical cause of this condition is overusing the shoulder muscles during physical activities like weight-lifting or sports like tennis or golf. Additionally, posture-related problems such as bad sitting habits and hunching over a desk for long periods of time are also known to contribute to pinched nerves in the shoulders. 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the shoulders include:

  • Localized tenderness
  • Tingling sensations radiating from arms down to fingertips

Pinched Nerve in Lower Back

lower back pinched nerve

A pinched nerve in the lower back is an extremely common but often painful condition that can occur due to inflammation and swelling of a nerve root. It is referred to as radiculopathy and occurs when the nerve roots in the spine become compressed or irritated. 

The symptoms of a pinched nerve in the shoulders include:

  • Sharp, shooting pain down one leg or arm 
  • Numbness 
  • Tingling sensations 
  • Difficulty moving certain parts of your body

Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment may involve rest, physical therapy exercises, or oral medications. 

In some cases, a pinched nerve in your lower back may require surgical intervention if non-surgical treatments do not provide relief. Surgery involves removing any material that might be compressing a nerve root like bone spurs or a herniated disc. 

After surgery, you may need physical therapy to help strengthen muscles around the spine and improve flexibility in your lower back muscles.

How Long Does a Pinched Nerve Last?

Pinched nerves last from a few days to several weeks. The length of time depends on the severity of the injury, how it is treated, and the underlying cause of the pinched nerve. It is important to seek medical attention if your symptoms do not improve after a few days or if they get worse.

Treatment Options

Pinched nerves can be extremely painful and debilitating, making it difficult to go about daily activities. The good news is that there are a variety of treatment methods available for those suffering from pinched nerves.

Physical Therapy

The most common type of treatment for pinched nerves is physical therapy combined with exercise. Physical therapists can help identify the underlying causes, assess the severity of the condition, and work with patients to create an individualized rehabilitation plan that includes stretching and strengthening exercises aimed at relieving pressure on the nerve or improving mobility in affected areas. 

Medications

Medication can help heal a pinched nerve by reducing inflammation and providing pinched nerve pain relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin are commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. 

Muscle relaxants may also be recommended to help reduce muscle spasms and tension in the affected area. In addition, physical therapy exercises may be prescribed to help stretch and strengthen the muscles around the affected nerve.

Surgery

Surgery can help heal a pinched nerve by removing any compressing structures, such as a herniated disc or bone spur. Surgery may also involve cutting away scar tissue that has built up around the nerve. In some cases, surgeons may need to decompress the nerve by making an incision in the surrounding tissue to create more space for it.

Nerve Block Procedure

A nerve block is a type of medical procedure in which a specific nerve or group of nerves is blocked from transmitting pain signals. This can be accomplished through the use of local anesthetics, which temporarily numbs the affected area, or through the injection of medication that blocks the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. Nerve blocks are often used to provide pain relief for a specific part of the body, such as during dental procedures or surgeries on a particular area of the body. They can also be used to diagnose the source of chronic pain.

Other therapies

Other therapies such as acupuncture, facet Injections​, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and even lifestyle changes like avoiding certain activities can also be beneficial for individuals suffering from pinched nerves.

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Author Profile

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.

About Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.