What Can a Pinched Nerve Lead to If Not Treated?

May 25, 2021

What Can a Pinched Nerve Lead to If Not TreatedOur entire body is made up of a complex network of nerves, tasked with carrying messages from the brain to the body and back again. These nerves control everything from our breathing and movements to touch, taste, and pain receptors. When these nerves are intercepted, the signals in our body do not transmit properly, leading to interruptions in a range of bodily processes. One way this happens is when a nerve becomes “pinched” by pressure from surrounding inflammation or damage. If you suspect this has happened to you, a Tucker chiropractor can provide treatment that resolves your symptoms while preventing chronic damage.

Recognizing a Pinched Nerve

Pinched nerves can occur almost anywhere in the body since nerves are located everywhere. However, they most commonly occur in the back, neck, arms, shoulders, and hands. Sometimes your symptoms will appear in a different location than the actual pinched nerve in a phenomenon known as “referred pain”. These symptoms can vary, but common things to look out for include:

  • Muscle weakness or loss of control in any body part
  • A “pins and needles” feeling, like when your foot falls asleep. Some people describe this as numbness or tingling.
  • Burning, aching, or sharp pain that takes your breath away
  • Loss of sensation in the extremities
  • Symptoms that worsen at night or when using the affected area

Any of these symptoms are a sign of a pinched nerve. However, a Tucker chiropractor will need to perform diagnostic testing and imaging in order to diagnose you with certainty.

Can I Treat a Pinched Nerve at Home?

Do pinched nerves go away on their own? Many of the symptoms of a pinched nerve may require some pain management at home. Rest, ice, heating pads, stretching, and over-the-counter pain medication can all be used to help you cope with symptoms that are impacting your quality of life. These treatments may even stop your symptoms so that you feel like the pinched nerve is resolved. However, the underlying cause of your pinched nerve has likely not been resolved, and without professional treatment, the condition is likely to return and possibly worsen.

Most pinched nerves require about 4 to 6 weeks of complete rest and treatment to heal. You likely cannot stop all of your daily activities for this amount of time to allow a complete self-recovery. Comprehensive chiropractic care can shorten the length of time a pinched nerve needs to heal, while also managing pain and symptoms. Even if you are able to complete treatment at home, you may be missing signs of other more serious conditions that a chiropractor would be able to identify. In these cases, symptoms will return and other issues may be given the chance to worsen.

Potential Consequences of Ignoring a Pinched Nerve

Without proper care from a Tucker chiropractor, the problem that caused your pinched nerve may persist. But moreover, serious damage can occur as a result of leaving a pinched nerve untreated.

A nerve that is compressed or inflamed for a long period without relief can lead to permanent damage in the nerve endings. This may result in a permanent loss of feeling or function in the area, or general weakness that does not resolve. Pinched nerves in the lower back are particularly vulnerable to these issues, with rare cases ending in a loss of bladder or bowel function or permanent numbness in parts of the legs.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is also an example of an untreated pinched nerve and it often requires surgery to repair, when early treatment would have resolved the problem. A condition known as peripheral neuropathy is also possible, leading to problems like excessive sweating, trouble digesting food, inability to regulate blood pressure, or even sexual dysfunction.

Some issues can be circumvented with surgery once they have reached a more critical point. However, seeking treatment early can usually help you to avoid surgery and the potential complications associated.

Comprehensive Care for Pinched Nerves

With the proper care, there is no need to worry about these severe consequences. The chiropractors at AICA Tucker can offer you peace of mind through a proper diagnosis of your pinched nerve and a treatment plan designed specifically for you. Not only will you work with a skilled Tucker chiropractor, but AICA Tucker offers a range of specialists who can be brought in to supplement care. Neurologists, orthopedists, physical therapists, and pain management specialists are all on staff to consult on the right plan for you. As soon as you suspect a pinched nerve, contact AICA Tucker to seek treatment.