This name so difficult to write and remember refers to a simple problem to understand that sometimes can become very problematic. Let’s explain what meralgia paresthetica consists of.
Femorocutaneous nerve.To understand everything we are going to tell, first I will explain the path of the nerve that causes these symptoms and that brings the sensitivity to the anterolateral area of the thigh; Is the femorocutaneous nerve. This nerve comes out of the lumbar vertebrae (L2 and L3) and goes to the front of the pelvis where it is superficial (we can see it in the image indicated by black arrows). We all have a zone of bone that we notice that protrudes in the anterior and lateral part of the pelvis (anterosuperior iliac spine) that we can see under the black arrow on the left. It is this area where we frequently support the belt. In this area the nerve is just below the skin and can be compressed with relative ease. The nerve then continues its course to the anterolateral area of the thigh.
This nerve is sensitive. Its mission is to collect the sensitivity of this area of the skin as we see in the diagram. Know that the nerves that collect this sensitivity have sensors and “cables” to detect contact, temperature changes and pain.
We already know what this nerve is for. Well, what is this about the paresthetic meralgia? When the nerve becomes damaged it produces a series of symptoms which have been given this name. Now we will see the causes and symptoms that can produce.
What symptoms does meralgia paresthetica produce?
Meralgia parestheticIt will produce unpleasant sensations in the area of the skin that corresponds to the femorocutaneous nerve as we can see in red in the scheme. You may notice tingling, numbness of the area (sometimes we touch and feel not feel good), pain in the path of the nerve and burning sensation. It may also happen that we have hypersensitivity in this area of the skin and notice pain just touching us (hyperesthesia) or that we feel unpleasant sensations rare (dysesthesia). We do not have to suffer all these symptoms, it is normal that we have only some.
What is the cause of paresthetic meralgia?
The causes usually have to do with the compression of this nerve in its path. The most frequent is to wear tight clothing that compresses the nerve, to gain weight or due to pregnancy. The typical thing, as far as the clothes are concerned, is the use of belts that tighten by the area of exit of the nerve although any clothes that compress in this zone can produce it. There are diseases like diabetes that make us more prone to have this condition. These are the typical causes, but any injury to the nerve pathway can damage it and produce symptoms: a blow in the nerve area, being upside down on a hard surface for a long time, if we have had surgery in this area and the nerve has Damaged, if we have a scar that compresses it, use of plasters, tumors, etc.
How is the diagnosis made?
Our doctor has to analyze our symptoms and through a physical examination discard other causes that can give similar sensations. Sometimes it is necessary to inspect the area with imaging tests to look for internal causes that may be compressing the nerve.
To confirm the diagnosis we can ask for a test that is the electromyography. With this technique, on the one hand, we will look at how this nerve works directly and, on the other hand, we will analyze other neurological aspects seeking to rule out other causes.
Another way to confirm the diagnosis may be by pinching a little anesthetic in the area where the nerve goes to the thigh. If the pain is relieved, it can confirm that we are experiencing a paresthetic meralgia.
What is the treatment of meralgia?
The main thing is to remove the cause that produces it. Our doctor will inform us of our particular case. Generally wearing loose clothing that does not compress in this area and lose weight would be the main preventive measures. The usual thing is that the symptoms end up going alone without any more when the cause has been a punctual fact that has compressed the nerve. Sometimes the sleeping area may remain for a few months if there has been more damage.
To relieve the pain we can take the painkillers and anti-inflammatories known. Sometimes our doctor will recommend medications that are specific for neuropathic pain. With neuropathic pain we refer to the discomfort or symptoms that produce sensory nerve injuries.
If the situation is lasting and leads to more disabling problems, there is the possibility of using more invasive techniques such as corticosteroid infiltration or even surgery to release the nerve.
Visit the ultimate guide to forget your depression.