ZocdocAnswersCan you permanently damage a nerve and be in pain for the rest of your life?

Question

Can you permanently damage a nerve and be in pain for the rest of your life?

I think I did something to a nerve in my neck. The muscle isn't sore but I have pain throughout the day and when I lay down at night. Did I damage a nerve in my neck somehow? Will it stay like this forever and be damaged?

Answer

If you have not seen your primary care doctor about this issue yet, then I highly suggest that you do so. Neck injuries are pretty common and they can be caused by several things, including bulging discs, pinched nerves, and muscle spasms. Even though you say that the muscles are not sore, I still think that the most likely cause of this is a muscle strain/spasm. This happens when there is an imbalance between the muscles that run up and down the two sides of the spinal column. Typically, the muscles on one side or the other will be contracted, leading to pain. This can usually be controlled with anti inflammatory medications, rest, and physical therapy and it tends to resolve over a few weeks. Pinched nerves or bulging discs are also common, and would be more likely if you are experiencing numbness or tingling or weakness radiating down into your arm or arms. Your doctor will be able to examine the area and help sort out what is going on. Usually, a first episode of neck pain like this does not require any special imaging or workup, but if there are any concerning symptoms like weakness your doctor may want to do an MRI.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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