Pinched nerves are a fairly common condition. They can appear on several points of the body, including legs and back. They typically occur where too much pressure is being applied to the tissue around the nerve. Often, this pressure can cause pain, tingling and even numbness.
In cases where pinched nerves cause numbness, it could last anywhere from a few days to multiple weeks. There are several different factors that can affect how long that numbness lasts, including whether you seek help for your symptoms.
What are some factors that can affect how long it takes for pinched nerve numbness to go away?
Here are a few factors that play into the equation:
- The cause of your pinched nerve — The amount of time it takes for numbness to go away can depend on the cause of the pinched nerve, whether it be from injury, arthritis or physical stress.
- Whether there is nerve damage — Numbness can be prolonged if there is damage to a nerve. Permanent nerve damage can occur if a nerve is pinched for too long a period of time. If the nerve is pinched for only a short period of time, there are typically no permanent effects. If you already have nerve damage, click here to learn about our neuropathy program and its benefits.
- If you continue to do repetitive motions and activities — Participating in activities that require repetitive movements can trigger a pinched nerve. Sometimes continuing these activities can also lengthen your recovery time and draw out the amount of time you experience numbness.
How to fix a numb pinched nerve
Here are some things you can do to relieve your pinched nerve and regain feeling in the affected area:
- Rest — Our bodies repair themselves while we’re sleeping, so try to get some extra shut-eye as you wait for your nerve to heal. Also, try to minimize the use of your affected body parts while you’re awake, as it will help you to avoid pinching the nerve even more.
- Alternate ice and heat — Ice helps to slow the circulation of blood to your pinched nerve, which helps reduce inflammation in that area of your body. Alternately, heat increases your blood flow, which brings much-needed white blood cells to fight infection and oxygen to help heal the nerve and any inflamed tissue that’s pinching it. Switching back and forth between the two in 20-minute intervals gives you the benefits of each.
- Elevate your injury — If possible, try to rest with the injured part of your body raised above the level of your heart. It helps to drain blood and other fluids away from your injury. This might mean sleeping with a pillow under your leg or with your upper body propped up. It’s not always possible, but do your best.
- Change your posture — If your pinched nerve stemmed from the way you sit, walk or run, you’ll want to change the way you do those things. Maintaining bad posture could pinch your nerves even further or put them at risk of it happening again in the future. At the very least, changing your posture may temporarily relieve the numbness your pinched nerve is causing.
- Incorporate ergonomic equipment into your office — Maybe you don’t have bad posture naturally but your chair keeps your body in a bad position for eight hours a day. Or maybe your keyboard is causing you to develop carpal tunnel syndrome in your wrists. Either way, consider replacing any furniture or equipment that’s leading to pinched nerves. It could solve your problem permanently.
- Stretch — Depending on the location of your pinched nerve, you may be able to fix it by stretching. Moving your body in the right way can shift your muscles and may relieve any tension causing your soft tissue to press up against the nerve.
- Consult a physical therapist — A physical therapist will be able to assess your injury to determine whether you do, in fact, have a pinched nerve, and then they’ll determine the best course of action for you. They’ll teach you stretches that target your injured body part and help you to correct any bad habits in your posture. They may even be able to make some recommendations regarding ergonomic office furniture that can help you avoid pinching any more nerves in the future.
Arrow PTR is ready to help your numbness go away faster
If you feel numbness somewhere on your body and think it may be due to a pinched nerve, physical therapy could be beneficial for you. Sometimes when a nerve becomes pinched in one area of your body, it can cause numbness in another area (like the way a pinched nerve in your elbow causes numbness in the fingers). With Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation specialists on your side, the amount of time it takes for your numbness to go away could be significantly reduced.
At Arrow PTR, we offer free screenings designed to answer your questions, discuss treatment options, and help you find a solution that addresses your condition and symptoms. The major element of this solution will likely be a PT plan that we create just for you. Such a plan will be geared toward reducing tension on the pinched nerve and cutting the pain and numbness it’s causing.
Contact us today to schedule your free screening and to determine if physical therapy is the right option for you.