When you have a pinched nerve, is the pinched nerve always pinched unless surgery? How does the nerve become unpinched?
The spine is made up of vertebral bodies and disks. The disks are made up of soft gelatinous nucleus pulposus and hard fibrous annulus fibrosis. As people age, there is a shift in the molecular composition of the disk with decrease in the water absorbing glycosaminoglycans producing a dry brittle disk. The whole disk may bulge out or nucleus pulposus may break through the annulus fibrosis into the disk space and compress spinal nerve causing back and leg pain called sciatica. The pain is aggravated and potentiated by inflammatory reaction around the herniated disk and nerves.
Sciatica may resolve without surgery if the inflammation or swelling resolves or the herniated disk may be broken down and removed by inflammatory white blood cells. Sciatic leg pain may resolve over few weeks to months or over many years. Most cases of sciatic that are going to resolve quickly settle in 1 to 3 months, otherwise it may take 4 years or never settle.
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