How Long Does a Pinched Nerve In the Lower Back Last?


How Long Does a Pinched Nerve In the Lower Back Last

If you have a pinched nerve in your lower back, you surely want to know how long you must put up with it?

Unfortunately, there is no set answer to how long a pinched nerve in your lower back lasts. There are a host of factors that come into play from the type of injury, to its severity, and more. Most pinched nerves, though, last anywhere from a couple days to a couple months.

Let’s look at this a little more closely.

How Long Does It Take To Treat a Pinched Nerve in the Lower Back?

The answer to this question depends on the specific particulars of each individual case. Some pinched nerves will go away in a matter of days. Others can take weeks, months, or may never go away entirely at all.

A scientific article on Springerlink defines the various types of lower back pain. (1) It distinguishes between acute (less than 4 weeks), subacute (lasts from 4 to 12 weeks), and chronic (lasts 12 weeks or longer).

Since one of the more common causes of lower back pain is a pinched nerve, we can use those ranges to answer the question. That is, in an acute case, a pinched nerve in the lower back will go away within four weeks. In a subacute case, within 12 weeks, and in a chronic case, 12 weeks or longer.

Can a Pinched Nerve in the Lower Back Go Away On Its Own?

Naturally, of course, pinched nerves that are treated will go away more rapidly. Although a pinched nerve does go away on its own in some cases, you are advised to seek out medical treatment sooner rather than later.


Well, as noted above, the severity of the condition not only has a direct impact on its duration, but also on the ease with which it heals. In other words, an acute pinched nerve will be more likely to fade without treatment than a subacute or a chronic condition. But if you do nothing to treat the condition, you may be continuing to do the same types of things and activities that pinched the nerve in the first case. The result may very well be that your condition may worsen over time rather than improving.

Why go through all that?

Schedule an appointment with a chiropractor, instead. A chiropractor, as an expert in the musculoskeletal and nervous systems, is the most likely individual to know how to fix a pinched nerve.

Is Using Physical Therapy for Pinched Nerves Effective?

In addition to chiropractors, physical therapists are also well-suited to handle a case of a pinched nerve in the lower back. Physical therapy uses exercises and other modalities to strengthen and lengthen muscles so as to alleviate pain caused by musculoskeletal issues like pinched nerves and such.

A study at Taylor Francis Online delineates the types of treatment for lumbar radiculopathy (a common result of a pinched nerve in the lower back). It notes that treatment of back pain necessarily varies depending upon whether it is acute, subacute, or chronic. According to the study, such treatment should include spinal manipulative therapy, specific motor control exercises, general strength training, and aerobic fitness. (2)

How to Avoid Future Pinched Nerves?

Of course, anyone who’s had a pinched nerve, be it in the lower back or elsewhere, will not want to get another one. They are painful, and annoying, and sometimes even crippling. There are a number of things you can do to avoid getting pinched nerves in the future. A short list includes:

  • Don’t spend the entire day sitting or standing
  • Develop good posture
  • Moderate your exercise and activity level
  • And try to shed some weight

Again, a chiropractor or physical therapist may also help you maintain your health. Exercises may keep your muscles healthy so as to provide the support you need. And regular chiropractic adjustments can keep your spine from going out of whack. Find out my tips on sleeping with a pinched nerve in the hips.


As you can see, the duration which a pinched nerve in the lower back lasts is not an easily answered question. A lot of factors come into play. But if you have a pinched nerve, one of the best first things you can do is schedule an appointment with your chiropractor and/or physical therapist.


Dr. Brent Wells

About the Author

Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells is an actively practicing chiropractic physician that has personally led over 10,000 Alaskans to more active, pain-free lifestyles since 1998. He is the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Anchorage and Juneau where he brings a progressive and highly innovative approach to chiropractic care. Dr. Wells continues to further his education with ongoing studies in spine conditions, neurology, physical rehabilitation, biomechanics, occupational ergonomics, whiplash, and brain injury traumatology. He is also a member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians.

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