Living with a pinched nerve can feel like an endurance test of coping with pain, numbness, and weakness. But, can they resolve on their own, or is medical intervention necessary? The answer isn’t always clear-cut, and it often depends on a number of factors.
At Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, Stuart Hough, MD, Ramani Peruvemba, MD, and our team are committed to helping patients understand the nature of their conditions, including issues like pinched nerves. In this blog post, we delve into whether or not a pinched nerve can heal on its own and when it’s necessary to seek professional help.
How a pinched nerve occurs
Among their duties, nerves communicate information about sensation between the brain and the rest of the body. However, they need a little bit of free space to do so. That’s why symptoms occur when a nerve gets compressed by surrounding tissues, such as bones, cartilage, muscles, or tendons. This pressure disrupts the nerve's ability to function, which can cause pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness.
The location of the pinched nerve plays a key role in the specific symptoms that develop. You can experience a pinched nerve anywhere, but they’re particularly common in the spine, wrists, and elbows.
Can a pinched nerve heal on its own?
Sometimes, a pinched nerve can indeed resolve on its own. Minor pinched nerves can often be alleviated with rest, avoiding overuse, and modifying activities that may irritate the nerve. Over time, the inflammation and pressure causing the pinched nerve may lessen, allowing the symptoms to gradually disappear.
However, this isn't always the case. Chronic or severe cases of a pinched nerve may not improve without treatment. Left untreated, a pinched nerve may lead to more serious complications, such as peripheral neuropathy or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Lifestyle modifications to assist in recovery
If you’re waiting for a pinched nerve to heal, or if you’ve had treatment, you may be able to speed up your recovery and prevent further nerve compression by making some lifestyle modifications. Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and practicing good posture are simple things that can make a big difference.
Exercise can strengthen the muscles that support your spine, which can reduce the likelihood of developing pinched nerves. Maintaining or getting to a healthy weight is important, because overweight individuals have a higher risk of developing nerve compression due to excess weight pressing on the spine and joints.
And lastly, having a good posture, whether sitting or standing, can reduce pressure on your nerves, especially the ones in your neck and lower back.
The role of pain management
While a pinched nerve may sometimes resolve on its own, you don’t have to endure the discomfort and uncertainty alone. At Pain Management Specialists, we believe in proactive, personalized care to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.
Our experienced team can provide expert advice on lifestyle modifications, and we can also offer targeted treatments. Our team at Pain Management Specialists is here to guide you on your path to recovery.
When to seek professional help
If your symptoms are intense, persist for several weeks, or are impacting your quality of life, it's time to see a professional. At Pain Management Specialists, our team of board-certified pain management experts can provide a comprehensive diagnosis and personalized treatment plan to help you manage and alleviate your symptoms.
Treatments for a pinched nerve could include physical therapy, medication, cortisone injections, or a combination of these treatments. The goal is to alleviate the pressure on the nerve and prevent further damage while simultaneously addressing the pain and discomfort.
While it's true that some pinched nerves may resolve on their own, it's crucial to not ignore severe or persistent symptoms. Neglecting to treat a pinched nerve can lead to long-term complications and chronic pain.
To get a comprehensive evaluation and a customized treatment plan to address your pinched nerve, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pain Management Specialists today.