How a Peripheral Nerve Surgeon Helps Meralgia Paresthetica Patients Find Relief Frequent Questions
Why does my foot look different after my knee replacement surgery? Should it hurt to have sex after a C-section? How can I relieve the pressure on a trapped nerve? Our FAQ page has the answers you need to kick chronic pain for good.
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What conditions could meralgia paresthetica be mistaken for?
While the numbness, tingling, or burning of meralgia paresthetica is not the kind of thing you can miss (especially if these feelings in your thigh keep you tossing and turning at night), the actual diagnosis of the problem is frequently missed.
A number of conditions resemble meralgia paresthetica closely enough that misdiagnosis is possible. These conditions include:
- Lumbar radiculopathy. Pain caused by compression or inflammation of a nerve in the spine
- Trochanteric bursitis. Inflammation of the fluid-filled sac near the hip joint
- Primary hip disease. Also known as primary osteoarthritis
- L2-L3 nerve root lesion or other neuropathies. Can lead to difficulty climbing stairs
- Chronic appendicitis. Symptoms may come and go but can be quite serious
- Uterine fibroids. Noncancerous growths of the uterus
With so many conditions with similar symptoms, it is only natural that misdiagnoses can occur. But while it may be to be expected, that is not much comfort when you are the person who is experiencing the symptoms. Fortunately, there are some diagnostic tools that can help.
Identifying the Problem Correctly
Your doctor may order radiographs of your hip in order to determine whether your issue is meralgia paresthetica or another condition. It is also possible that your doctor may use electromyography (EMG) to help make the diagnosis. EMG records electrical activity when a nerve stimulates a muscle and can be used to identify and diagnosis neuromuscular abnormalities. The test requires inserting one or more small needles into a muscle and EMG can distinguish meralgia paresthetica from radiculopathy or pain emanating from the hip.
Once the issue has been properly diagnosed, corrective measures can be taken. If the issue is indeed meralgia paresthetica, nerve release surgery may be the most effective solution if more conservative treatment options have not provided relief.
Dr. Eric H. Williams Can Identify and Treat Meralgia Paresthetica
As we have suggested, a correct diagnosis is the first step toward finding relief from meralgia paresthetica. Dr. Williams can provide that diagnosis—and once the problem is properly identified, he can suggest the best path forward. If you have discomfort toward the top of your leg, don’t wait to start the journey toward relief. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Can meralgia paresthetica make it hard to sleep at night?
As names of medical conditions go, meralgia paresthetica is a mouthful. And the condition itself is no picnic.
Meralgia paresthetica is caused by the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. That’s the nerve responsible for providing sensation to the front and side portions of your thigh. When that nerve is compressed, the sensations you feel are not the normal ones you might expect. Instead, you may experience burning, aching, numbness, or even stabbing pains in and around your thigh.
Having any of those feelings in your thigh is likely to make it quite difficult to drift off to sleep, so it is important to find a way to address the problem.
A Few Self-Care Options to Try
There are some self-care things you can try to lessen the burning sensation that often makes it difficult to sleep. For example, you might try kinesiology tape as a way to take pressure off of the compressed nerve. Or you could head to your kitchen, grab a rolling pin, and roll it over the affected area in an effort to at least temporarily restore regular nerve function.
You can also choose a sleeping position that is likely to ease the problem. The best option is to sleep on the side opposite the discomfort with a pillow between your legs. (If the burning is in your left thigh, sleep on your right side.) This can help ease the compression of the nerve enough to allow you to get to sleep.
Sometimes Surgery Is the Way to Go
These self-care options can sometimes provide relief and allow you to get the sleep you need. However, if conservative treatments are ineffective, surgically releasing the nerve so that it is no longer compressed might be the best option. Freeing the trapped nerve can offer lasting relief from meralgia paresthetica.
Dr. Williams Can Help Your Meralgia Paresthetica
If you are losing sleep due to meralgia paresthetica, it is time to see a doctor. Dr. Eric H. Williams is an experienced and compassionate surgeon committed to helping patients move past persistent pain related to nerve issues. If you are experiencing ongoing discomfort in the area of your thigh, contact us today for an appointment.