Back and Neck Injury/pinched nerve


Dear Sir,

I hope you can give me the answer to my problem. How long can/does it take for a pinched nerve to 'show itself'?

In May of 2013 I fell and hit the crown of my head. I went to PT and they gave me some exercises to do. Which made the pain better. Then 2 weeks later, I woke up and my entire head was hurting as if someone had hit me with a baseball bat.

So I went to the Dr and was given more exercises. It took care of the pain I was complaining about and another popped up and took its place.

It took me a while to see the pattern and I decided to live with the pain. I had my husband massage my neck and then I got the pain in my shoulder. That's where I am now. When ever I rest my arm on say the computer desk or the table, my arm goes to sleep. And the inside of my elbow feels weak like it wants to fall off.

So I am thinking/wondering about a pinched nerve. How long does it take to 'show up' Can it take over a year?

thank you for your time,

Hi Joyce,

Every situation is different. It is not possible to say for sure, just possibilities.

It is possible that that trauma to your head caused a disc to bulge or tear. This can happen and not be of initial consequence; not large enough to cause symptoms. If this were to happen, the disc is weaker and less capable of resisting strain. Over time, the bulge starts to herniate or the tear becomes larger to the point where it places pressure on a nerve.

It is possible that the head trauma caused jamming of the facet joints in the neck. Initially not painful, however, trauma can initiate degenerative changes. Over time, this could lead to hypertrophy of the facet joint or outgrowth of bone to the point where it places pressure on a nerve.

There could have been damage to muscles or ligaments that have weakened. So, structures could have been damaged, but not producing symptoms and then one day, you could sneeze and herniate a disc. So, it could be a matter of when a certain threshold is reached before symptoms are produced.

It could be a combination of these processes, or none. It is possible that a pinched nerve is not the result of the head trauma and is related to other factors. These could be postural issues, stresses on the neck structures and genetics.

An MRI should be able to correlate any of these type of findings with your symptoms and results of any orthopedic/neurological tests.

So, when does it show up? It could take a year. Signs of it may have been present soon after on MRI imaging.

I wish I could be more definitive, but there are many variables. Hopefully, you can get the problem properly diagnosed and undergo a speedy and full recovery.

Kind regards,

Dr. Steve

Back and Neck Injury

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Dr. Steve Ornstein


I can answer questions regarding neck and back pain treatment and general musculoskeletal conditions. Acute, chronic and degenerative conditions using various methods; exercise, rehabilitation, traction. Pain relief methods and professional quality products via website at which can be used at home.


Graduated Chiropractic College in 1987, working in numerous clinics within two states using a variety of manual and physiological therapies. Involved in martial arts for 20 years.

Chiropractor Sherman College, Certified in Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Certified Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Studied with Dr. Cox using Flexion Distraction Technique, Studied with Dr. Leahy using Active Release Technique. Myofascial Release with Dr. Rockwell - Parker Chiropractic College. Certified in Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy.

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