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Meralgia Paresthetica


What is meralgia paresthetica?

Meralgia paresthetica (MP) is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and burning pain in your outer thigh. MP occurs when the nerve that provides feeling to the area is pinched.

What increases my risk for MP?

  • Tight clothes
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Scar tissue due to injury or surgery
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or lupus
  • Age between 40 and 60 years

What are the symptoms of MP?

You may have symptoms on only one side of your body. Your symptoms may get worse if you stand or walk for a long time. You may have any of the following:

  • Numbness and tingling in the outer part of your thigh
  • Burning, stinging, or aching in the front and outer sides of your thigh
  • Lower back pain that goes down your legs
  • Skin that is extra sensitive to the touch
  • Dull, achy pain in your groin and buttocks

How is MP diagnosed?

  • An x-ray, CT, or MRI may show what is putting pressure on your nerve. You may be given contrast dye to help the area show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • An electromyography measures the electrical activity of your muscles at rest and with movement.
  • A nerve conduction study measures the electrical activity of your nerves.

How is MP treated?

  • Medicines may be given to relieve pain or decrease inflammation.
  • Surgery may be needed if your symptoms are severe and other treatments do not work. The nerve may be removed or the tissue around it cut to relieve pressure.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Maintain a healthy weight. This will decrease pressure on your nerve. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Decrease pressure on your nerve. Wear loose clothing. Do not wear tight pants, belts, or other tight clothes. Do not walk or stand for long periods of time.
  • Go to physical therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have severe leg pain.
  • You cannot feel or move your legs.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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