How Long Does A Pinched Nerve Last And Why?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 4th, 2022

Exact time frame: 4-6 weeks (Approximately)

A pinched nerve is a compressed nerve that produces pain, numbness, or tingling in various body regions. When the surrounding tissues strain on the nerve roots, this results in a pinched nerve.

Pinched Nerve

Cervical radiculopathy is the medical name for a pinched nerve. A herniated disk is the most common cause of a pinched nerve.

The top part of the spine comprises seven tiny bones called vertebrae that go from the base of the head to the shoulders.

A pinched nerve occurs when nerves branch out from the spinal cord between the vertebrae termed foramen and become irritated or squeezed. It is a frequent ailment caused by increased strain on the nerves.

Common Pinched Nerve Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

The location of the pinched nerve determines the locations of these symptoms. For example, if a nerve in your cervical spine is compressed, you may suffer stiffness in your neck or discomfort down your arm. With that in mind, here’s what you should be on the lookout for.

1. Intense Pain

One of the most prevalent symptoms is severe discomfort along the afflicted region. The discomfort may come and go, but if it lasts longer than a few days, you should consult a doctor.

2. numbness

Some patients report numbness in the affected region. This might also be a loss of the capacity to feel inside a certain muscle.

3. Radicular Pain

The pain extends outwards as well. This sensation is similar to a shooting or searing ache in your extremities. It might, for example, start at your thigh and radiate down your leg.

4. Burning

Tingling and burning feelings are also prevalent. This frequently manifests as pins and needles or a prickly sensation in the affected region.

5. Weakness Feelings

Weakness or heaviness while exercising that specific muscle is another sign of pinched nerves. A typical symptom is fatigue caused by participating in an activity that necessitates using a certain muscle group.

Pinched Nerve Symptoms

From relatively moderate reasons such as persistent bad posture to nerve damage from a car accident injury, there are several instances of how a pinched nerve can originate and lead to various disorders that impact the neurological and musculoskeletal systems. An adjacent bone, muscle, joint, or soft tissue might compress a nerve.

Bad Posture

If you sit at a desk all day, you may get what is known as a ‘tech neck.’ This describes how our bodies bend over keyboards or other gadgets, causing an abnormal curvature in the spine and neck. When the spine is misaligned, poor posture like this might result in a pinched nerve.

Misalignment of the Spine

Because the spinal column stores all of the nerves in the nervous system, spinal misalignments are a common source of nervous system disturbances.

The nerves might be disrupted when a vertebra is slightly out of place or misplaced. One approach is by increased pressure and compression on a specific nerve, which is known as a pinched nerve.

Disc Herniation

A herniated disc is an example of a spinal disc pushing on a nerve, which occurs when a spinal disc ruptures and compresses a surrounding nerve root due to misalignment. Similarly, a herniated disc squeezes the sciatic nerve, creating shooting sensations down the leg.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is generally understood in the context of repetitive usage of the hand and wrist, such as when writing, typing, or doing other normal tasks. When a specific nerve, the median nerve, is compressed, it causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand and wrist.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammation in the soft tissues around the nerve can also cause pinched nerves. This is fairly prevalent in people who have rheumatoid arthritis.

When the soft tissues around your joints become inflamed, nerves in the region might get compressed, causing substantial pain and discomfort. As a result, tingling and numbness around the joints are frequent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Nerve Injuries

One of the most serious cases of pinched nerves might result in nerve injury since the nerve is not only squeezed but also badly injured. This sort of nerve injury can result from blunt force trauma, such as a catastrophic vehicle accident.

How Long Does It Take To Heal A Pinched Nerve?

In general, a pinched nerve might last four to six weeks. In some circumstances, a pinched nerve may be treated in a matter of days; in others, it may take months to unpin the nerve.

However, the duration may differ from person to person based on their immune system reaction, the reason for compression, or the degree of compression.

Pinched nerves can arise due to bad posture, spinal misalignment, herniated disc, Carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and other factors.

A pinched nerve can be identified by its symptoms, which include neck discomfort, weakness in the shoulder, arms, or hands, loss of feeling in the arms, hands, or both, and numbness or tingling in the arms and hands.

A pinched nerve can be identified using a variety of methods. Doctors order these tests to determine the degree of compression, its etiology, and so on.

The Spurling test, X-ray, CT (Computerized tomography) scan, MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scan, and EMG are among the tests performed (Electromyography).

A pinched nerve can be treated surgically or non-surgically. A pinched nerve can also be treated without surgery. A pinched nerve is not necessarily dangerous, but it can be, causing severe discomfort or possible nerve damage.

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

Why Does a Pinched Nerve Take So Long to Heal?

It takes time for a pinched nerve to heal and recover entirely. There are several methods for recovering from pinched nerves. During the rehabilitation phase, the symptoms begin to diminish and relieve discomfort.

Extra sleep and relaxation might help to repair a pinched nerve. The body heals itself while sleeping, and if there is no major injury, more sleep is sufficient to allow the pinched nerve to heal. Maintaining excellent posture is also essential during the recovery process.

Stretching and yoga are also helpful in treating a pinched nerve. In many circumstances, alternating heat and cold packs can help decrease swelling and irritation. Applying an ice pack to the afflicted area for 15 minutes and repeating the process three times daily will help relieve discomfort.

It takes four to six weeks for a pinched nerve to heal. Compressed nerves do not mend steadily, but it takes time for the pressure in the nerves generated by the surrounding tissues to diminish and recover fully.

In certain circumstances, surgery is used to relieve the strain on the nerve. The type of surgery varies according to the location of the pinched nerve.

Decompression is a surgical procedure used to relieve and alleviate discomfort caused by impingement. To provide the nerve greater space and decrease pressure, surgery may involve the removal of a tiny section of the bone over the nerve root known as the lamina.

What are some natural treatments for a pinched nerve?

The treatment for a pinched nerve begins with home treatments that assist relieve:

  • Soreness
  • Numbness
  • General discomfort

The sooner you treat a pinched nerve, the faster you will heal.

Here are some home cures you may try right away:

  • Ice packs or heating pads for pain and inflammation used for 15 minutes to 1 hour 
  • resting the affected area 
  • over-the-counter pain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen
  •  light stretches for the affected area to encourage blood flow and movement 
  • adjusting your posture and sleep position

How Much Is Time Too Much Time?

How long does it take for a pinched nerve to heal? Are they capable of escalating into more significant problems? When should you seek medical counsel and treatment for a pinched nerve? While there is no final solution, consider the following:

How long have you been in pain?

If you’ve been experiencing pain or suffering from a pinched nerve for more than three days and haven’t found relief using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or other therapies, this is cause for concern.

Prolonged pain from an impingement indicates that you may want the assistance of a doctor to discover the source of your pinched nerve discomfort and rule out any other potential issues.

Is this a recurring issue?

If you experience the pain or discomfort of a pinched nerve frequently, especially if it is the same one, it is time to contact a doctor. Herniated discs, for example, can cause persistent (sometimes sporadic) flare-ups that will most likely develop with time.

How Disabling Is It?

If you are unable to move or do your usual daily activities owing to discomfort, weakness, or numbness caused by a pinched nerve, contact a doctor right once. In some circumstances, the longer you wait, the more likely you will suffer lasting nerve damage.

How to Avoid Getting a Pinched Nerve

While a pinched nerve isn’t always preventable, there are several things you can do to lower your chances of getting one. Maintain proper posture and avoid being in one position for an extended time.

Maintain a healthy weight by eating a good, well-balanced diet and participating in a regular exercise routine that focuses on strength, flexibility, and healthy weight management. Limit repetitive tasks such as cutting, sitting, standing, typing, and golfing.


A pinched nerve is one of the causes of headaches and neck discomfort. A pinched nerve is not necessarily dangerous, although it can cause nerve damage. When there is no improvement in the pain or other symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor.

It is critical to see an orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon identifies the underlying source of the disease and correctly and effectively diagnoses it. In some circumstances, surgery is also recommended. When a pinched nerve is not adequately recognized, recurrences might occur and must be treated again.


Editorial Staff

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