When Will My Pinched Nerve Stop Hurting?
A pinched nerve is a common condition that may arise when excessive pressure is placed on a nerve by its bones, muscles, or other surrounding tissues. The pressure interferes with the way the nerve functions and leads to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as numbness, weakness, and tingling. Symptoms may affect your back, hips, legs, ankles, or feet.
There are a variety of reasons you may experience a pinched nerve. An injury, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease, diabetes, spinal stenosis, repetitive work or hobbies, pregnancy, or obesity may all increase your risk for this condition.
To diagnose a pinched nerve, a doctor will test your reflexes as well as your ability to move your muscles. They may also order an imaging test such as an MRI, CT-scan, or x-ray to look at the structures in your back or neck or an electromyography (EMG) to check the function of your nerves.
Pinched Nerve Pain is Usually Short-Lived
So how long does a pinched nerve cause pain and discomfort? In most cases, symptoms improve and nerve function resumes to normal within 6 to 12 weeks of conservative treatment. Conservative treatment options include physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. Lifestyle modifications such as rest, ice and hot therapy, frequent exercise, and sleeping position changes may help as well.
There are a number of factors that will play a role in how long your pinched nerve lasts. The cause of the inflammation, degree of compression, and your immune system response can help determine when your symptoms will subside.
In the event your pinched nerve persists for more than a few months, surgery may be recommended to prevent permanent damage and chronic pain. It may involve getting rid of a portion of a herniated disc or bone spurs. This will alleviate nerve pressure and ensure greater comfort.
Since a surgical procedure may come with risks and a lengthy recovery period, you should always try conservative treatments at first.
How to Prevent a Pinched Nerve
While a pinched nerve isn't always avoidable, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing one. Focus on good posture and don't stay in one position for a long period of time. Also, adhere to a nutritious, well-balanced diet and engage in a regular exercise program that focuses on strength, flexibility, and health weight maintenance. In addition, limit repetitive activities like cutting, sitting, standing, typing, and golfing.