Can nerve pain come and go?
Neuropathic pain is usually described as shooting, stabbing or burning. Sometimes it feels like an electrical shock, and is often worse at night than during the day. The pain may be constant or it may come and go. It may be accompanied by tingling sensations (such as pins and needles), itching or numbness.
If a nerve is pinched for only a short time, there's usually no permanent damage. Once the pressure is relieved, nerve function returns to normal. However, if the pressure continues, chronic pain and permanent nerve damage can occur.
- Often, if the pressure on the nerve is released, this cascade effect can be broken. The nerve will begin to heal, and the barrier will be restored. Injury to the axons or the myelin also will heal. Most often, symptoms that result from compression of a nerve can be reversed, even in long-standing cases.
- Most of the time, sciatica can be treated effectively and the symptoms abated. Rarely, however, sciatica can cause severe and permanent damage that leads to loss of movement and feeling in the affected leg and even bowel and urinary incontinence.
- Peripheral neuropathy is damage to nerves that exist outside the spinal cord and brain, and the numbness, burning, and prickling sensation caused by neuropathy may become permanent. To diagnose a pinched nerve in your neck, your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask you about your symptoms.
Muscle spasm in the back commonly accompanies pinched nerves and can be quite painful. Sometimes, nerves can be pinched and the only symptoms may be numbness and weakness in the arm or leg without pain. Other symptoms include tingling, burning, electric, and a hot/cold sensation.
- True sciatica is a condition that occurs when a herniated disc or osteoarthritic bone spurs compress and pinch one of the contributing roots of the sciatic nerve. This is known as a pinched nerve. This type of lower back pain is less common than other causes and conditions that produce back pain.
- Cervical radiculopathy, commonly called a "pinched nerve" occurs when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated where it branches away from the spinal cord. This may cause pain that radiates into the shoulder, as well as muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm and into the hand.
- The main symptom of cervical radiculopathy is pain that spreads into the arm, neck, chest, upper back and/or shoulders. A person with radiculopathy may experience muscle weakness and/or numbness or tingling in fingers or hands. Other symptoms may include lack of coordination, especially in the hands.
Updated: 2nd October 2019