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Does a Pinched Nerve Resolve on Its Own?

Also known as nerve compression, a pinched nerve can cause bothersome symptoms that make it difficult to go about your days with ease. It happens when a nerve experiences too much pressure from surrounding tissues, such as your bones, cartilage, or tendons.

While some pinched nerve issues resolve on their own over time, others fare best with treatment.

Fellowship-trained in treating lower extremity nerve pain, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman of Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, provides effective care for nerve-related issues, including compressed nerves that affect your legs, ankles, or feet.

Let’s delve into this common nerve condition, including signs it’s time for treatment. 

Pinched nerve basics

You can develop a pinched nerve at any life stage, but your chances are highest from age 50 on. Other factors that raise your risk include having arthritis, being pregnant, carrying excess weight, and engaging in repetitive movements, such as styling hair or heavy lifting. Diabetes may also fuel nerve damage that affects your feet. 

Once you have a pinched nerve, your symptoms may include:

  • Aching, burning, or sharp pain
  • Frequently feeling that your foot has fallen asleep
  • Numbness or reduced sensation in the area supplied by the nerve
  • Muscle weakness in the affected area
  • Pain that radiates to other body parts
  • Pins and needles sensations (paresthesia)

Your symptoms may come and go sporadically or stay fairly constant, depending on factors such as whether you’re using the affected body part. 

And while wear-and-tear linked with aging or repetitive movements often causes pinched nerve issues, you can also develop these symptoms from a sudden injury.

How often pinched nerves resolve on their own

In most cases, a pinched nerve will eventually become uncompressed on its own over time. As that happens, you’ll notice gradually improved symptoms. That natural healing process often takes 4-6 weeks in full, however, and symptoms linger longer for some people.

When to seek medical treatment for your pinched nerve

If you aren’t having much luck managing your pinched nerve symptoms on your own through rest and over-the-counter pain medication, it’s time to seek professional care. The same goes for symptoms that interfere with your daily life and don’t start to improve within a few days.

Delaying treatment you need can be risky, given that ongoing nerve compression can lead to complications, such as chronic pain and permanent nerve damage. 

Dr. Oexeman provides both conservative and surgical treatments for nerve conditions that affect your lower extremities – including nerve decompression, nerve release, and nerve reconstruction repair. 

To learn more about pinched nerve treatments or to get started toward your own relief, call our office or book an appointment online today.