Have you ever notice the strange symptoms of tingling, numbness, and pain in your upper thigh? If yes, then you might be suffering from meralgia paresthetica. Even though it might be an unfamiliar term for you, the painful sensations that it causes are almost unbearable and unforgettable.
However, if you are suffering from meralgia paresthetica, and want to say goodbye to your pain, then don’t need to worry about it. Because today, we will talk about meralgia paresthetica exercises for pain relief. But before getting into the exercises, let’s have a look at what meralgia paresthetica is; and what are its causes?
WHAT IS MERALGIA PARESTHETICA?
Meralgia paresthetica is also known as “Bernhardt-Roth syndrome” is the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) that imparts sensations to the upper thigh portion. Your LFCN moves from the spinal cord to your pelvis and upper thigh area to excite your hip flexors and hip extensors. As this nerve is purely sensory and not motor so it doesn’t affect your muscular movement. However, it causes numbness and tingling sensations and often pain that are somewhat unpleasant.
According to research, 4.3% of people per 10000 gets affected by meralgia paresthetica. And chances are more in patients who have diabetes mellitus.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MERALGIA PARESTHETICA:
Symptoms of meralgia paresthetica vary from person to person. However, they all appear in the same region, the front and the lateral portion of the leg.
Some people experience burning and painful feelings in this region, while others have tingling and buzzing sensations. Some people complain that they have numbness in the upper and lateral portion of their legs, whereas some have a great sensitivity to light touch more than even hard pressure.
The symptoms get even worse when you spent some time standing on your feet or go for a long walk.
CAUSES OF COMPRESSION OF LFCN:
As we know that meralgia paresthetica is because of compression of LFCN, but the question is that what are the factors behind this compression? There are two possibilities behind this compression:
- Internal compression of muscles, fascia, and fats.
- Spinal compression aliments such as spinal stenosis, herniated disks and degeneration.
- External compression such as tight clothing, weight belts.
Most of the time, meralgia paresthetica is due to internal causes. The nerve mostly gets compressed in a pelvic region between the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) and the Inguinal ligament, as there is a very narrow space in this region, and LFCN passes through this region. Owing to this, any pressure or squeezing can easily irritate your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and results in meralgia paresthetica.
POSSIBLE TREATMENTS FOR MERALGIA PARESTHETICA:
The treatment possibilities for meralgia paresthetica include:
- Weight Loss.
- Myofascial Release.
- Chiropractic Adjustment.
- Corrective Flexibility.
- Corrective Strength Training.
- Physical Therapy.
If the above-mention strategies cannot alleviate your symptoms, your physician may prescribe you a steroid injection to decrease swelling around your nerve. In addition, your doctor can also prescribe you pain-relieving medicines.
Occasionally, surgery is done to release pressure on the nerve when pain is immensely severe. However, surgery is not always successful in relieving pain.
Having enough knowledge about meralgia paresthetica and its causes, let’s see some meralgia paresthetica exercises that you need to practice.
MERALGIA PARESTHETICA EXERCISES:
Lunges help to strengthen and stretch some of the major muscles of your leg including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutei, and also aid in improving balance. How to Lunge:
- Stand erect with both arms on the sides of your body.
- Move your right leg forward and position your hands on your hips.
- Descend the body till your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your right shin is perpendicular to the floor. Assure that the right knee does not surpass the toes of the right foot. The top of your toes should be obvious.
- Hold for 10 – 15 seconds.
- Do this exercise 15 times and then shift to the opposite leg.
- Practice 3 sets of lunges on both legs twice daily.
STANDING PSOAS STRETCH:
Your psoas muscles run from your lower back across the pelvic region to the top of your lower limb. It causes flexion in the hip joint and raises your upper leg. How to perform a standing psoas stretch:
- Stand about 2ft opposite to the wall with feet shoulder-distance apart.
- Position both hands on the wall roughly at shoulder height. Or you can place your both hands on your hips.
- If your hands are placed on the wall, keep your elbow in a fully extended position. If your hands are positioned on your hips, gently bend the pelvis towards the wall till you feel a stretch in the hip front.
- Keep this position; take ten deep breaths.
- Perform this exercise twice daily.
Planks are one of the best exercises while treating meralgia paresthetica. It involves your abdominal muscles and puts less pressure on your lower back. For doing planks:
- Lie in prone line position (facing downward) on the floor and lift your body with your hands straight under your shoulder as you are going to do a pushup.
- Tuck your toes to the ground and contract your glutei to stabilize your body. Your legs should be involved, but don’t try to over-stretch them.
- Balance your neck and spine by looking at the point on the ground. Your head and lower back must be in a straight line.
- Keep this position for 20-30 secs as long as you can tolerate.
- Once you have achieved stability in doing planks, you can also lift one of your legs in a plank position to achieve more progress.
Side planks are done to engage your rectus abdominis, glutes, and some hip abductors. This exercise is beneficial to reduce pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and easing the symptoms of meralgia paresthetica. Follow the below-written steps for this exercise.
- Lie in a sideline position with your knees tilt and raise your upper body on your arms.
- Lift your hips off the ground and hold for 6-10 secs.
- Hold the position for 10 secs.
- Do this exercise three times with the same leg and then turn to the opposite leg and repeat the whole stretch in the same way.
A gluteal bridge is the best way to provide support to your pelvis and spine. This exercise aids in strengthening your glutei and core muscle and helps in releasing pressure on your LFCN. How to perform a gluteal bridge:
- Lie in supine line position (face upward) with your knee tilted at the right angle to your thigh and your feet placed flat on the floor.
- Raise your hips skyward until your hip, knees, and shoulder come into a straight line.
- Contract your glutei and drawn your abdominal muscles in to avoid overextension your back during the exercise.
- Hold this position for 30-secs and slowly descend towards the ground.
- Repeat this exercise for 15 repetitions twice daily.
STANDING QUAD STRETCH:
- Strand straight with your feet, hips distance apart. Let your shoulder muscles relax and drag your abdominal muscles in.
- Bend your right leg and bring it toward your hip and hold your right leg with your left hand
- Keep this position for 30 secs and perform the same activity with the opposite leg.
- You can also take support with some chair, placing the opposite hand on it to balance yourself.
- Repeat this exercise 10 times, twice daily.
SUPINE FROG STRETCH:
Many experts think that stretching of the inguinal ligament can quickly help in easing paresthetica symptoms. To do this stretch:
- Lie in a supine line (face upward) position with your feet flat on the floor; your arms should lie flat on both sides.
- Now place your feet in a way that the bases of both feet meet each other and spread your legs as you are opening them to stretch your inguinal ligament.
- Keep this position for 30 sec and return to the supine line position.
- Do ten sets of this stretch thrice daily.
In addition, there are many other exercises that you can perform, for example, clamshell or cow-cat pose.
Considering the above text, we can say the meralgia paresthetica is undoubtedly a painful and intolerable condition. However, with the consistent practice of meralgia paresthetica exercises, you can ease your symptoms to a large extent. Still, if you want to seek personal suggestions and consultation regarding meralgia paresthetica, I can put a corrective program together to suit your bodies needs or try a class with me. We both will work together to ease your meralgia paresthetica symptoms.