If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve, you know how painful and downright annoying the condition can be. One of the most common questions chiropractic physicians get is, “Will a pinched nerve go away all on its own, without treatment?” A close runner-up in the common questions department is, “How long does a pinched nerve last?”
The first thing to do if you think you’re suffering from a pinched nerve is to get treatment. Our office treats dozens of people every month who need help with this common condition. The pain can range from minor to major, and treatment plans vary depending upon severity and other factors.
Let’s take a look at the key questions about pinched nerves as well as the best treatment options.
What are the Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve?
Because any type of pressure on a nerve can lead to the feeling we call “pinched,” it’s important to know how to spot the common symptoms. Also keep in mind that while many cases can clear up on their own after the pressurizing cause is removed, there’s no guarantee that a pinched, or restricted nerve will ever get better without treatment. And waiting for the pain to go away can mean that it just gets worse, possibly turning into long-term nerve damage and related problems.
Here are the symptoms to watch out for, and which should lead you to seek professional help:
- A “needles and pins” feeling: There are several kinds of nerves in the body, but when sensory nerves have a problem transmitting their signals from one place to another, you’ll usually feel like your skin is being stabbed with hundreds of tiny needles. This moderately painful sensation can mean a serious problem with the nerves, and might mean you have a pinched nerve.
- Lack of sensation or numbness anywhere on the body: Pressure on a nerve can easily block the needed amount of blood for the nerve’s proper function. When this kind of pressure exists, you’ll typically notice numbness in a limb or other part of your body.
- One or more parts of your body seem to have weak muscles: When one of your body’s motor nerves is restricted or pressurized enough, it can lead to “weak muscles.” In fact, there’s nothing wrong with the muscles, but we use the term because it clearly describes the feeling you have when a motor nerve is pinched.
- Burning, sharp pain that seems to move outward from a central point: This condition arises when you suffer from compression on a nerve due to tissue swelling or even when the nerve, all on its own, is inflamed and not functioning properly. This radiating pain can range from mild to quite severe and usually indicates a pinched nerve that needs immediate treatment.
- One of your limbs “falls asleep” often: Whenever people sit in an uncomfortable position for too long, they are apt to lose sensation in legs or arms. This is normal and the feeling goes away after you walk around for a few minutes. But if you notice that you get the same sensation while you are up and about, then you might have a pinched nerve.
How Long Will a Pinched Nerve Last?
The fact is that a “pinched,” actually an impinged, nerve can last for a very long time unless you get treatment. However, sometimes the body suffers from a temporary condition of impingement that lasts less than two or three days. But even short-term problems should be carefully scrutinized, especially if they:
- Are recurring: an intermittent appearance of a pinched nerve, even if it only lasts a day or so at a time, can be indicative of a serious condition like a herniated disc that can get much worse if it’s not treated.
- Affect your ability to move or live normally: Even a two- or three-day long problem with a pinched nerve can be quite serious if the impingement leads to restrictions of your normal ability to move about. There’s the risk that this kind of pinched nerve problem can lead to permanent damage to the nerve or nerves that are impinged.
- Have a suspicious cause: If you’ve recently been in an auto accident or had a fall, even a short-term pinched nerve can mean something much worse. In situations like these, it would be wise to see a chiropractor as soon as possible.
Should You Get Treatment?
It’s wise to visit a chiropractor and find out the cause of the compressed nerve. In most cases, you’ll need to have an adjustment, just to be on the safe side. Additionally, a chiropractic physician can determine whether the short-term pinched nerve is part of a larger impingement condition. That’s why it’s always smart to get treatment when you notice symptoms of a pinched nerve.
Will Pinched Nerve Pain Go Away On Its Own?
Pain from an impinged or compressed nerve can go away on its own. In some cases, the pain will stop after just one or two days. When pain lasts for more than three days, you should get to a chiropractor and have it checked out. But even in short-term cases that last just a day or so, your body is telling you that your spine is possibly misaligned. Having it adjusted by a licensed chiropractor is the only way to prevent a recurrence of the condition and make sure that you don’t have a more serious condition.
Making the Right Decision
Don’t risk waiting for any type of pain to “go away on its own,” especially when you don’t know its cause and when it involves a nerve. The body’s nerves are part of a complex but delicate network that supports nearly every activity we take part in. If you ignore pain and discomfort in the hope that it will magically disappear without the right treatment plan, you’re simply gambling with your health.
Visit a trained physician in our chiropractic office and get to the root of your pinched nerve, or any other, pain. There’s wisdom in seeking treatment early. That way, you can prevent small problems from becoming serious health issues.