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Meralgia Paresthetica

Questions

What is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia paresthetica is a condition that occurs due to the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). This nerve supplies sensation to the front and side of the thigh. Meralgia paresthetica causes burning pain and numbness in the thigh area.

What are the Causes of Meralgia Paresthetica?

Given below are various causes responsible for an individual to have Meralgia Paresthetica:

 

  • Overweight,
  • Extremely tight clothes for a long time that include stockings, belts, pants, etc, that cause tension on the skin,
  • Injuries during car accidents due to seat belts,
  • Heavy objects on the waists, like guns and other tools,
  • Diabetes,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Recovering from recent surgery,
  • Different lengths of legs. 

What are the Symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica?

The person suffering from Meralgia Presthetica experiences symptoms only on one side of the body, these symptoms include:

 

  • Pain on the outer thigh, extending down to the outer side of the knee,
  • Burning, tingling, stabbing pain,
  • Numbness in the thigh,
  • Pain aggravates when the thigh is touched lightly,
  • Pain worsens after walking or standing for long periods,
  •  Aching pain in the groin area that radiates to the buttocks,
  • Feeling pressure on the foot is accompanied by the feeling of extensive pain after walking or even standing still for some time.

 

PATHOLOGY:

Meralgia Paresthetica is the entrapment neuropathy of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that causes pain, inflammation and numbness in the outer thigh.

Diagnosis of Meralgia Paresthetica.

Physical Examination:

Physical Examination is done for some movements of the leg to check for neurological abnormalities. Also, medical history is considered to make the proper diagnosis.

 

X-rays:

X-rays are done to rule out any bony problem.

 

Magnetic resonance imaging and CT scan:

Magnetic resonance imaging and CT scan are done to look inside the hip region of the pelvic area that helps to know the root cause of the disease.

 

Electromyography:

Electromyography is done to check the electrical activity of the muscles in the leg region. A thin needle electrode is used for the same.

 

Nerve Conduction Test:

Nerve conduction test is done to check the nerve function by applying electrodes to the patient's skin.

 

Nerve Blockade:

For nerve blockage, the patient is injected with anesthesia into the thigh, at a point where the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) is supposed to be compressed.

 

Blood Tests:

The blood test is done to rule out the other conditions.

Treatment for Meralgia Paresthetica.

Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), Anticonvulsants, Anti-depressants, Pain killers, Corticosteroid injections etc.

Note: Medication should not be taken without the doctor's prescription.

 

Surgery:

Nerve decompression and neurectomy surgery are done rarely to correct any compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Surgery is usually recommended if the symptoms are not relieved by other treatments.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Meralgia Paresthetica.

Cryotherapy:

Cryotherapy is found to be effective to decrease swelling and pain.

 

Thermotherapy:

Thermotherapy increases blood circulation and relieves pain and inflammation.

 

Phonophoresis:

Phonophoresis helps the body to absorb pain medications that are applied.

 

Transcutaneous electrical stimulations (TENS):

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is an effective treatment for painful peripheral neuropathy. It provides symptom relief by using an electric current to stimulate the nerve and activates central mechanisms and causes an analgesic effect.

 

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT)

Low laser therapy is found to be effective for LCN, as it has an analgesic effect for neuropathic pain.

 

Kinesio-Taping:

Kinesio-Taping increases vascular and lymphatic flow, decreases pain, enhances normal muscle function, proprioception, and also helps to correct any malalignments.

 

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture techniques like needling and cupping can be done as it has shown effective results.

 

Manual therapy:

Manual therapy like myofascial therapy for iliopsoas, rectus femoris, Active Release Techniques (ART), mobilization or manipulation for the pelvis, transverse friction massage of the inguinal ligament are recommended.

 

Exercises:

30 – 40 minutes of exercises a day for 3 or 4 days a week is done to relieve chronic pain, these exercises include joint stability exercises, flexibility exercises, muscle strengthening, and endurance exercises.

 

Strengthening and Stretching Exercises:

Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for the hip, pelvis, and abdominal core exercises are recommended. Strengthening exercises like isometric exercises with resistance, use of weights etc can be done.  Nerve stretching exercises can be done to relieve pain and reduce the tightness in the nerves and also help relieve pain that is associated with tight nerves.

 

Balance Exercises:

Balance training exercises are given to enhance postural control and functional ability.

 

Weight loss therapy for obese patients:

Physiotherapists help to decrease weight, by designing a weight loss program and increasing patients' physical activities.

 

Aerobic Exercises:

Aerobic exercises like stationary biking, brisk walk, swimming, and water aerobic exercises can be done.

Patient Education.

The patient is advised to lose weight, not to wear tight clothes, and avoid wearing tool belts and girdles. The patients are advised to take timely treatment from the doctors, to prevent any damage in the nervous system in the infected part.