Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Living with 'Meralgia'

Meralgia is not a person, but a condition.  The full name of the condition is 'meralgia paresthetica', named in 1895 by Vladimir Roth of Moscow.  

The name is the sum of its three parts. “Meros” is Greek for thigh, “algos” is Greek for pain and “paresthetica” means unprovoked sensations. In other words, English, it means pain in the thigh from an entrapped nerve, in this case the lateral femoral cutaneous.  This entrapment  neuropathy was one of the first to be recognized as such.
I was diagnosed with this in 2009.  On a flight home from Seattle I experienced severe burning and tingling in my left thigh.  Getting home late at night, I undressed and noticed that my thigh was covered with petechiae (evidence of small blood vessel rupture), probably from my rubbing it so hard.

By the time I realized something was wrong and called my doctor, the petechiae were gone, but my physician wasted no time making the diagnosis and placed me on a nerve medication.  After several months I finally began to feel better and eventually the pain was completely gone.  After two years I went off the medication and experienced no issues until a few weeks ago.

Out of the blue, this burning wakes me up most nights.  I change position in bed and the burning disappears.  I have absolutely no problems during the day.  It is making me nuts (some would say I am already there). 

The most common causes of the entrapment are diabetes and obesity.  I don't have the first problem and while I would love to lose weight, I hardly think I am obese. 

We are constantly hearing commercials asking people if they are living with (fill in the blank), and then hearing a spiel for a medication we should ask our doctor to prescribe for us.  Everyone I know who has gone on a nerve medication has complained about it and I was no exception.  While I did not find myself falling asleep at the drop of a hat, I did experience more weight gain.  And even going off the medication does not mean that the gain miraculously disappears.

While researching this condition, I discovered that it was also experienced by Sigmund Freud.  After reading about his issues, I consider myself lucky.  Mine came and went in a relatively short time frame and even though it has returned, I can still live with it.  For now.  We'll see what the next few months bring.


  1. Denise,
    Would you glance at this site and see what you can add to the body of knowledge of MP?


  2. Hi Denise,

    Hope your MP is on the wane or gone completely. I was just diagnosed with this, and it is a painful way to get through every day. I'm just up killing time right now because I can't sleep due to the pain. Just wishing you well.

    1. Mine has been gone for some time now, but last year I injured a muscle in my other leg. Every now and again, I wake up in the morning with a slight meralgia pain which goes away after I get out of bed. My doc says that is just part of growing older. Hope you can deal with yours.


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