MERALGIA PARESTHETICA

Another little thing that can cause big problems. One of the nerves that supplies sensation to the front of theupper thigh comes out of the spine and crosses over the bony ridge of the pelvis. It’s called the lateralcutaneous nerve, and it doesn’t take very much to bother it. Just enough pressure barely to pinch it againstthe bone will cause pain down the upper front of the thigh. This shows up once in a while in dancers andother performers who wear costumes that are very binding across the hips. Occasionally we’ll see it in aman wearing a dance belt or in people with skintight jeans, even in people whose running shorts have toomuch elastic. It doesn’t take much.

The pain is always hard to pin down. It isn’t muscle pain, it doesn’t respond to treatment, and itcomes and goes depending on what you have on. Once the nerve is irritated and inflamed, though, it’ll stickaround for a while.

+ What to do about it + The treatment is prettysimple: get rid of the pressure. A change of cloth-ing and anti-inflammatory drugs will usually calmit down. But it can take some doing to arrive atthat point. It might be best to see a doctor, justto be sure what the problem is. It can masquer-ade as other things, but it doesn’t respond likeother things. One test involves tapping acrossthe bony ridge of your pelvis. When you comeupon the irritated nerve, you’ll feel the pain downyour thigh like an electric shock. Fortunately, thisproblem is rare.

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