Thigh Pain (Meralgia Paresthetica) Treatment

In addition to reducing risk factors, there are exercises and medications you can take to help reduce painful symptoms. 

Treatment for meralgia paresthetica can be difficult. In some cases, perhaps the easiest treatment would be to leave the lateral cutaneous femoral nerve alone, as most cases of meralgia paresthetica resolve on their own.

Otherwise, treatments usually include weight-loss programs, reduction of any compression, physical therapy trials, and medications like neuroleptics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Self-treatment of meralgia paresthetica can be accomplished by reducing the source of compression—perhaps by losing weight or loosening belts, avoiding carrying a wallet or cell phone in your front pocket or wearing looser jeans.

Initial treatment may include physical therapy, a lidocaine patch applied to the tormented thigh, or an appropriate dose of ibuprofen or another NSAID. If the pain continues for more than one or two months, your doctor may treat the problem with a local steroid injection, again using musculoskeletal ultrasound or CT imaging as a guide during the procedure.

(Source: 123RF)

The list of other medications that have been known to help, to varying degrees, include a form of Vitamin B-12 called methylcobalamin (a neuroleptic-like gabapentin), or anticonvulsants like phenytoin, carbamazepine, or pregabalin, as well as the antidepressants amitriptyline and fluoxetine.

If patches, injections, and chemicals don’t provide relief, Kinesio taping, acupuncture, and pulsed radiofrequency nerve ablation have been shown to benefit. A 2018 study showed that when doctors performed pulsed radiofrequency nerve ablation for eight minutes on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, it provided safe treatment, reduced nerve inflammation, and relieved thigh pain for the five patients in the study.

Surgery may also help. One such surgery lifts pressure off the nerve by widening the canal that the nerve travels through near the inguinal ligament and pelvic bone. A 2018 study suggested good results with performing this surgery using only local anesthesia. A second surgery, a neurotomy, involves removing the nerve altogether from where it exits the pelvis, but this treatment is not recommended because the permanent sensations you experience after your nerve is cut, called dysesthesias, can sometimes feel worse than the original thigh pain.

Updated on: 03/13/19
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Thigh Pain (Meralgia Paresthetica) Overview
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