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Top Physical Therapy Clinic in San Diego 2016

Meralgia Paresthetica

Lower Back Pain

Are you experiencing numbness, tingling, or burning pain in your outer thigh?  We often suspect that these types of symptoms are related to our lower back (eg – sciatica).  However, there is a condition called “meralgia paresthetica” (MP) that could be the actual cause of the symptoms.  With sciatica, the sciatic nerve becomes irritated and pain can be felt from the lower back and down the back of the thigh and leg. With MP, the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve becomes compressed or pinched.  This results in tingling, numbness and/or burning on the lateral (outer) aspect of the thigh.  

Common causes of MP include tight clothing (eg – compression shorts), wearing a heavy tool belt, obesity, pregnancy, or localized trauma.  Most of the time, the symptoms can be relieved with a conservative approach.  Wearing looser clothing will reduce compression on the involved nerve.  Tylenol or NSAIDs (Advil, Motrin, IB) can also alleviate pain.  Hot packs and cold packs can help reduce tightness and irritation as well.  

If symptoms are more persistent or become severe, your doctor may recommend steroid injections or prescribe stronger medications (eg – Neurontin, Lyrica).  Surgery is not common but may be necessary to decompress the nerve in cases where symptoms are very severe and have been present for a longer period of time.  

If you have questions or concerns, contact the therapy team at ProActive Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine for help.


About the Author - Jon

Jon is the Director of Rehabilitation at ProActive Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in 4S Ranch. He graduated with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Miami in 1997. Jon has been practicing outpatient orthopaedic physical therapy for the past 15 years. In 2003, he became board certified as an Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS). Jon has extensive experience with manual therapy, treating various types of orthopaedic injuries, and working with patients of all ages. He joined the ProActive family in 2008 and has helped ProActive Physical Therapy become one of the premier therapy providers in San Diego. Jon also volunteers his time and knowledge at the athletic training department of Poway High School. When he is not assisting patients or athletes, Jon enjoys spending time with his wife, two children, family, and friends. He is an avid sports fan who enthusiastically supports the Miami Hurricanes, San Diego Chargers and Padres.

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