Meralgia Paresthetica — Give me your experiences.
November 14, 2014 4:12 AM   Subscribe

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with meralgia paresthetica in my left leg. I am currently having a flare-up. Please give me your experiences, tell me what causes your flare-ups, tell me what helps you.

I am not sure what caused my first flare-up (none of the normal things mentioned by Google — weight gain, baby, trauma or tight jeans) but it persisted for about a month. I went to the doctor twice and what finally worked was a nerve blocker. I was mostly symptom-free for a couple of months, even after I ran out of the nerve-blocker, but now it's back with a vengeance and I'm kind of worried about it.

Complicating factors: I am traveling through Europe since Monday and suffering a serious case of jet lag. I have also recently started drinking again after Sober October (not a lot, but it's the only thing I can think of that has changed). I bring these two things up because I am trying to figure out what might cause the onset or recurrence of symptoms, such as insufficient sleep. I exercise pretty regularly (running and yoga) but that doesn't seem to have an effect on it, either negatively or positively. My symptoms mainly appear when I'm in bed or laying down.

Google tells me nothing, so I am looking for experiences from others who have this disorder.

Is there any way to cure it (short of surgery)? If left uncured, is it dangerous? It is definitely annoying but my symptoms present as numbness, not pain, so I could live with it if I could figure out how to manage it. I really don't want to be on a nerve blocker for the rest of my life.
posted by Brittanie to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've never heard of this affliction but, after reading about it on the Mayo Clinic site, this sounds amazingly similar to something my wife is dealing with. Oddly, laying in bed is when it flares up for her on an almost nightly basis.

It doesn't really look like there's much in the way of treatment for this, unfortunately.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:36 AM on November 14, 2014

I've never heard it called that, but I was told I have a pinched lateral cutaneous nerve in my early 20's. I was sent to rehab where they attached plungers to my leg that ran electrical current through the nerve. Thanks to teh internets I can say it looks like they used Interferential Current Therapy. I can't remember whether it hurt or did really nothing at all, but its an avenue you might want to investigate. There's also the take home version: a TENS machine.

Most of the time I can tune out the sensations, though every so often it gets really bad with pinching under the skin and burning along with problems moving my femur in my hip properly when walking. It's like the signal gets all mixed up. I think if was at its worst all the time I would be clamoring for some other type of relief, but for now I can live with things as is, which is mostly a sensation like the Novocaine is wearing off and pain feels a thousandfold worse in that region of my thigh. Because I have other problems in my hip region I wonder if some of my problem is structural; how I stand, how I articulate my leg when I go to take a step ... a physical therapist with an interest in sports medicine might be able to spot subtle postural issues that contribute.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MSBR) has helped me cope with living with chronic pain (I have Chronic Migraines and Chronic Daily Headaches but initially started to meditate to help relieve anxiety). Jon Kabat-Zinn has a number of CD's offering guided meditations that are part of the program. I'm hesitant to mention it because to some it sounds a little too "some guy in a white cotton tunic with a perma smile and some bodhi beads pass the patchouli" woo woo for their comfort, but somewhere along the way I learnt there is a difference between the pain I feel and how much I suffer for it. I can't stress enough how this has been the best habit I've ever picked up and how much my quality of life has improved because of it.

Latterly, have you looked at how people cope with other types of chronic nerve pain, like sciatica, they might have suggestions on how relieve their nerve pain that can help.

Hope you find some relief and if you have any question feel free to message me. Good luck.
posted by squeak at 8:03 PM on November 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

I got it in one leg when I was pregnant, but it was only numbness and never pain. Even though that pregnancy did not go to term, the symptoms stayed around. It was weird, and I expected to just have to live with a numb thigh forever.

Then I got pregnant again, and after I gave birth, the symptoms went away. My thinking is that something changed in my body during pregnancy, then it took completing a pregnancy before my body could/would go back into the way it was. Given all of this, I don't think it was caused by weight gain but by skeletal movement/expansion caused by pregnancy.

The advice I got was exercise and acupuncture.
posted by orange (sherbet) rabbit at 4:16 PM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

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