What is Meralgia Paresthetica?
Meralgia Paresthetica is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, or potentially a burning sensation along your outer thigh. The lateral femoral cutaneous (LFC) nerve derives from the posterior division of your L2/L3 nerve and runs along the top, outer aspect of your thigh and sends sensory information to the upper thigh. When too much pressure or continual compression affects the LFC nerve, it causes tingling, numbness, or a burning sensation in the upper thigh. LFC is a sensory nerve, therefore only the motor skills are disrupted, and symptoms are generally felt on just one leg.
I was introduced to Dr. Kody via Instagram when I had been suffering from lower back, hip and leg pain for about 2 years on and off. During those 2 years before, I had seen two physiotherapists but wasn’t responding as well as I had liked. Just before I found him, the pain was getting worse and I really wanted to understand better the underlying cause. After my first visit to Dr. Kody, I got instant relief, but more importantly, he patiently walked me through what was causing it. He really took the time to answer and all my questions and create a plan for me to get better. His approach wasn’t just about “the adjustment” but rather a more longer term fix by focusing on the mobility and strengthening.
How We Take Care of Your Meralgia Paresthetica (Leg Numbness)?
We have you covered for your leg related injuries with an integrated team of physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, registered massage therapists and kinesiologists.
Treatment for meralgia paresthetica may include (but are not limited to):
- Soft tissue treatment to address muscle tightness and trigger points
- Stretching and exercises to help manage and improve symptoms between treatments
- Joint mobilizations and/or manipulations to help release stiff joints
- Massage therapy
- Education regarding ergonomic changes to your work setting to decrease stress on your leg.
- Other therapies may also be used, and the best approach will be determined during an evaluation with your specialist.
What does Meralgia Paresthetica feel like?
Some key symptoms may include:
- Burning pain, numbness or tingling on the outside of the thigh
- The skin is sensitive or painful to the touch
- Walking or standing make symptoms worsen
- Relief when sitting down
- Symptoms may appear and disappear without apparent cause
What causes Meralgia Paresthetica?
In most cases, there may be a variety of contributing factors. Some common factors may include:
- Tight clothing items such as belts and pants
- Wearing heavy tool belts
- Seat Belt trauma during a motor vehicle accident
How To Treat Meralgia Paresthetica?
The objective is to relieve pressure on the nerve using a variety of methods to treat the compression. Some treatments include:
- Myofascial techniques to release compression sites
- Chiropractic care may improve hip mobility with adjustments
- Home care exercises may be used to strengthen and stretch the hips and legs.
- Opting for loose clothing
- Minimizing weight on the tool belt
What To Expect During Your First Visit
We want to understand what is troubling you so we can treat you effectively. Know that whatever you disclose will be held with the utmost confidentiality.
To determine whether a patient is suffering from meralgia paresthetica, the following steps may be taken upon your initial visit with your practitioner:
- A thorough subjective history, including the mechanism of injury, aggravating or relieving factors, the activities you participate in among many other things.
- A complete objective examination to help rule in/out other differential diagnoses. The assessment may include but is not limited to checking range of motion and strength of the relevant areas, palpation or touching of the related structures to note any sensitive or tender areas, and finally a functional assessment.
- Treatment (the specific details of treatment will be discussed with you during your session prior to proceeding). Home exercises are also provided as part of your session.
How can we take care of your leg pain or numbness?
Treatment will vary based on how the patient is presenting in the clinic and will depend on the underlying causes and contributing factors that they are presenting with. Generally, rest and activity modification will be prescribed. Ice, taping or bracing may be prescribed if needed. More common treatment approaches are strengthening and stretching of the muscles identified in the assessment.
You don’t have to live with leg pain or numbness
In conclusion, Meralgia Paresthetica is a condition that is reversible. Combining passive and active treatment boosts pain relief and prevents re-injuries. If you or someone you know is having any of the issues described above, please feel free to contact Baseline. Our practitioners are more than happy to help!
Written by: Lorrisa Deng, Registered Massage Therapist (RMT), Vancouver and Burnaby