This nerve is purely sensory, so it doesn’t affect muscle strength or cause muscle loss. It originates from your lumbar spine, specifically the L2 and L3 vertebrae, and provides sensation to your medial and lateral thigh, starting from the groin and extending down to the knee.


The most common spot for this nerve to become entrapped is in the thigh. This condition frequently occurs during pregnancy as the growing baby and belly can compress the nerve. Middle-aged men and individuals with diabetes are also at higher risk, with diabetics having a sixfold increased risk. While this condition can affect just one side, it’s bilateral in about 25% of cases.


What causes this nerve compression? A thorough history can reveal the activities that might be compressing the nerve. Risk factors include having a BMI over 30, significant weight gain (more than 15 pounds in a month), and external factors like tight clothing, belts, or high heels that cause pelvic tilt and nerve stretching. Repetitive movements, such as frequently bending to pick things up, can also compress the nerve.


A key indicator of this condition is pain that intensifies when sleeping. During sleep, the brain focuses on the damage to the nerve. Also, walking might worsen the pain due to nerve stretching, while sitting could relieve it by taking tension off the nerve.


To evaluate meralgia paresthetica, we perform an orthopedic test called the pelvic compression test. This test can help reduce numbness by alleviating pressure on the nerve. Our treatment approach includes adjustments to the lumbar spine to relieve nerve compression and muscle work around the TFL, IT band, and sartorius to address any contributing factors. We also provide stretches for the sartorius and psoas muscles and nerve release techniques for the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.


Here are the key takeaways about meralgia paresthetica:

  1. Identify and eliminate the activities causing nerve compression to prevent recurrence.

  2. Maintain good posture, keeping your knees below your hips to avoid compressing the nerve and avoid repetitive bending.

  3. Remember, meralgia paresthetica is solely a sensory issue, with no muscle loss or motor deficits.

  4. Follow the prescribed exercises and stretches to aid in recovery.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please reach out and schedule an appointment. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your health journey.


Dr. Madeline Klesk

Dr. Madeline Klesk

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