Thigh pain, or numbness in the thigh, can be life altering for many. Any time there is numbness, it can be a sign of possible nerve damage and should be taken seriously. Once a nerve becomes permanently damaged, it is irreversible and normal function is gone forever.
Numbness in the thigh is a condition called Meralgia Paresthetica. Meralgia Paresthetica can be a painful condition for those who suffer from it for a prolonged period of time. Most people can bear pain or numbness for a short time period but when a condition becomes chronic, it can become quite bothersome.
Last week, a consultation came in and told me of his meralgia paresthetica and how much pain he had been in. He also described the numbness in his upper leg and thigh. He was very concerned because he hadn’t been able to find help.
In Arkansas, I am very well known for my natural and non-invasive treatment successes for people who suffer from chronic and debilitating neck and low back pain, failed low back and neck surgery syndrome, peripheral neuropathy (tingling, burning, or numbness of the hands and feet), loss of balance, fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, and sciatica.
All of these conditions have one thing in common: Nerves.
What are the Symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica?
Or, should I say nerve pathology or disease. When nerves don’t work properly due to lack of oxygen supply, compression (a “pinched nerve”), poor blood supply, breakdown of the myelin sheath (nerve insulation), the symptoms are all the same: pain, tingling, burning, numbness, weakness, etc…
Not every person will have the same symptoms. One patient may tell me that they have horrible numbness and they can’t tell the difference between cold and hot water in the shower. The next may tell me that they are tripping and falling because they are losing their balance.
I decided to write this article about the condition meralgia paresthetica because, 1. It is fresh on my mind since I just did a consultation with a patient who suffers from it, and 2. Because it bears a striking resemblance to other nerve conditions that I help every day with my Deep Tissue Laser Therapy and other unique treatment methods I perform with patients.
As I said above, Meralgia Paresthetica is defined as numbness, pain, tingling, or burning of the lateral thigh. The lateral portion of the thigh is considered the “outside” portion of the thigh.
Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve and Meralgia Paresthetica
Meralgia Paresthetica is caused by compression of the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve (LFCN). The LFCN comes out of the nerves of the low back and goes into the thigh. Why is this important? Because of the involvement with what is called the lumbar plexus.
The lumbar plexus is the cluster of nerves that the LFCN originates from and is in the lumbar spine or “low back”. Most of my patients are over 65 years of age. Therefore, most of them have a condition called Degenerative Disc Disease.
How is Degenerative Disc Disease a Possible Cause of Meralgia Paresthetica?
Degenerative Disc Disease is plain old fashioned arthritis. The only difference is where it is located. In the hands or knees, it is called osteoarthritis which is the type of arthritis that comes with aging and wear and tear.
In the spine, osteoarthritis is called Degenerative Disc Disease. The two are the same. Degenerative disc disease can cause pinching or compression of the nerves in the low back (lumbar spine) and put pressure on the lumbar plexus that the LCFN comes off of before it goes into the thigh.
I know that there are a lot of terms here and that it can be confusing, so I’m going to break it down and put it into plain English. A worn out, arthritic disc in the low back can put pressure on the nerve that goes into the thigh and cause meralgia paresthetica.
Can Meralgia Paresthetica be caused by Permanent Nerve Damage?
Over a period of time that nerve pressure can start to cause nerve damage. A sign of possible nerve damage is numbness. One of the overlooked causes of meralgia paresthetica is degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine.
Often, the source of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve compression is blamed on the inguinal ligament in the groin. However, I have had many years of experience in treating patients who had meralgia paresthetica symptoms and have found that the treatments I provide to them (on their lumbar plexus) usually gives relief.
I often say that you can go to 100 doctors and get 100 opinions. It may sound like an enormous number and a bold claim, but ask the patients who come to me after years of failures and they will tell you stories that will shock you.
The problem I have with the traditional medical approach is that it usually leads to either prescription medications of some type or surgery. I believe that every possible natural solution should be attempted before going under the knife for any condition out there.
I also believe that medications only cover up problems instead of fixing them. There is a lot of life changing relief out there for many people who are willing to go the extra mile to find the right solution and help.
It reminds me of a 93 year old patient that I had a few years back. Her name is Mildred and she drove (by herself) from Ft. Myers, Florida to get care in my clinic. She went the extra mile to get the care that would help her avoid surgery because it was worth it to her to try something that could finally give her some relief.
If you are suffering from chronic pain and numbness or you have been told different opinions from various doctors that you have seen and you don’t know where to turn, contact my office to see if you qualify for a consultation with me.
Maybe you are a senior citizen who has some other health conditions and because of those conditions, you are a high risk surgical candidate. Therefore, your doctors won’t do surgery because of the risk involved.
Maybe, you don’t want to have a surgery that takes pressure off of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in your groin when the compression to the nerve could be from Degenerative Disc Disease in your low back.
Whatever the case, when you come meet with me, I’ll give you an honest opinion of what I think is going on with your pain and numbness in your thigh and some possible alternatives to surgery.
Health is Happiness,
Dr. Keith Currie