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Thigh numb and for over two months

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
I suffered from excruciating pain in my left lower back and left thigh for over a month. Then I got an ESI 3 weeks ago. The back pain gradually disappeared, but the front and sides of my thigh are still 100% numb to touch. At the same time the skin burns if rubbed and I have pain and burning inside the thigh especially when I walk. My neurosurgeon did not see anything big in the MRI and said that it is not a case for surgery. I have disk bulges at different levels and moderate stenosis, main problems are at L4-L5. I am afraid that these symptoms will be permanent and that they indicate a severe nerve damage. Does anybody know if/when one should be concerned about numbness and pain not going away? Should I wait more, or go to a different doctor?

Thanks so much!!!


  • The fact that your skin burns sets up a red flag to me. Did you tell your doctor about this symptom? Any surface pain is not generally associated with sciatic pain.

    Whether you have discs compressing a nerve or the central canal stenosis is the cause of your sciatic symptoms, something is causing you pain and causing the nerves to be compressed...whether it is something "big" or not.

    I would seek a second opinion from a different spinal specialist. You might also need to start seeing a pain specialist if you are having trouble coping with your symptoms.
  • I agree with Meydey about getting an RMG. This is a test that will check the nerve function going down your leg. Equipped with an EMG that shows abnormality, a doctor could take a second look at that MRI. I would also be inclined to get a second opinion. Susan
  • it sounds like meralgia paresthetica a some what rare but often misdiagnosed condition often from the L4 root I have had this condition for years just google it for more info emg etc. studies often will not confirm this condition my nuero confirmed it by taking a sharp pin and sticking it into my thigh in different places to confirm numbness didnt bother me at all I would get another opinion and bring up this condition I have been on this site for over a year now wondered when I would run into someone else with this
  • to richardstinson-

    Just wanted to let you know that I also have Meralgia Paresthetica in my left thigh, and have had it for 10 years. I have no idea what caused it. :( I agree with you, it's very hard to find anyone else to talk to about this condition, because it is either very rare, or mis-diagnosed. I also have RSD in my hands and one foot, and my PM doctor insists on calling my thigh pain part of my RSD. A neurologist diagnosed MP years ago, and said it's a bit different than RSD.

    Anyone, feel free to ask me any questions about this condition, because in addition to living with it for so long, I've done my fair share of research on it.

    I actually have a Spinal Cord Stimulator implanted just for my MP, and it gives me about 60-70% pain relief. I've had the SCS since 2002.

    And to curlie - I would ask your doctor to look into whether you might have this condition, too. I does sound alot like my symptoms, except all my pain/numbness is on the front & outer part of my thigh. It's so hard to describe the symptoms to doctors, because they think if it's numb, how can there be pain? Well, there is certainly both, as you surely know!

    I'm brand new here, so I'm just learning how to use this forum.


  • Thank you all so much for your replies and sorry that I haven't been on this for awhile.
    Rubybear, you are so right! I also have a hard time explaining to people - and doctors! - that numbness and pain at the same time IS possible! Anyway, I did the EMG and it came out normal! Then I read today that EMG cannot diagnose problems with sensory nerves, only motor nerves. Indeed, I don't have weakness in my left leg, only pain, burning, total numbness and all other kind of strange sensations. Today I am reading the results of the new MRI I did 2 days ago and it shows a "sequestrated disk fragment" causing severe foraminal stenosis at L2 left, and pressing the nerve root. Strange that the first MRI (I did it in a different place) did not show this disc fragment.
    My symptoms sound exactly the same as the ones in Meralgia Paresthetica that you guys have, and I understand that MP is not related to the spine though. What causes MP?
    Thank you again, you've been veru helpful!
  • Get back to the doctor, ASAP! You do not want a floating disc fragment!

    Hope you get some relief and feeling returns in your thigh. I have permanent S1 nerve damage and I don't wish it on anyone.

    Take care,

  • Thanks for the advice! Yes, I have a doctor app tomorrow. No matter what he says, I think I'll get a 2nd opinion too. I haven't heard much about cases of floating disc fragments. I am confused because the EMG found everything normal.
    I feel so bad for you about the permanent S1 nerve damage! and you are so young! How did it all start? And what is this spine stimulator? How does it help?
    I wish you all the best!
  • Here are a couple of descriptions I found about what causes Meralgia Paresthetica.

    1. "Meralgia paresthetica is an entrapment or "pinching" of the nerve that supplies sensation to the outer portion of the thigh. The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve becomes "entrapped" as it passes under the ligament of the groin. This results in abnormal sensations of burning, pain, and numbness in the distribution of this nerve, the outer and part of the front of the thigh."

    2. "Along its course, the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is vulnerable to compression at several sites. The nerve emerges from the psoas muscle, intersects with the inguinal ligament, curves around the anterior superior iliac spine, and exits from the fascia lata. Meralgia paresthetica most commonly occurs from compression of the nerve as it exits the pelvis."

    Basically, it's entrapment of the nerve as it passes through the groin area. It's actually rare for it to be caused by the spine itself, but it's possible. When I was first diagnosed, my case didn't fit some of the typical causes: obesity, or wearing very tight clothing around the waist (never could stand tight clothes!). However, I did have "female" surgery 3 months earlier, and they do mention pelvic surgery as one of the causes. I think my nerve got entrapped while I was under anesthesia and my legs were in a very 'unladylike' position for awhile. I don't know why it took 3 months for the MP to appear, however.

    You're right, the EMG wouldn't find anything, because that is for the motor nerves. The long name for MP is Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Syndrome. The emphasis being "cutaneous", which is a sensory nerve on the skin.

    One other symptom I have with mine is that the area is always hot to the touch, compared with my skin anywhere else.

    Hope this helps some,
  • I would go for a second opinion if you're not comfortable with your treatment. Your PCP Dr. should book an EMG for you to test for nerve damage. I have numbness is my feet and legs but can still walk. My 2nd opinion has said no to me also. Having an EMG is important I think. I'm not a Dr. and I can't give medical advice but a second opinion wouldn't hurt also getting another MRI but these need to be ordered by a Dr. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Rubybear, thank you for excellent explanation on MP. Who knows, I might have that too. I don't have the temperature problem that you experience, often the skin feels like on fire but it is normal temp to the touch. The NS now sees the direct link between the symptoms at the thigh and the nerve compression at L2. He says that surgery seems the only way to go since it is over 3 months I have the symptoms and the epidural did not help. It's my decision now. Good luck to you! - Curlie
  • I cannot tell you how much of a relief it is to finally find a group of people who are talking sense to each other!
    I am based in London, and was diagnosed with viral costochondrtis on Sept 1 last year. I have been sent home from my doctors with pain relief ranginf from tremadol to steroids all of which have given me horrendous side effects.
    A mnth ago, I was finally referred to a rhematologist who confirmed that my spine had developed a pretty severe curvature and my skeleton was being pushed out of alignment.
    Just when I thought things couldn't get much worse they did....My left leg is now numb to the touch from my hip to my knee on the outerside of my left leg. The pain is so acute that I wake in the night shouting out with it.
    The NHS has really let me down and I have paid privately for physio and chiro and am booked in for a lower lumber MRi tomorrow am.
    No one seems to know what to do and even though I have finally been due to me pushing snd pushing, been referred to a pain clinic( long waiting list ) I am pretty scared that at 41, I am not going to recover my leg.
    If anyone has any thoughts, please do get in touch. Having been an active career orientated person I am now pretty bed bound and have to fight for every inch through the doctors.
    Kindest regards
  • I am sorry to hear of your problems. You have added on to an older post that was started by another member. You will get more responses if you start your own post.

    This would probably be the appropriate "category" for your question. Maybe just copy it and start a new thread...that way many more people will see it and will hopefully have some ideas for you.

    Again, welcome to the board.

  • Thanks to those who have provided insight on this condition. I have been 15+ years now with numbness on outer left thigh that sounds very much like this. Probably the result of thousands of repetitions punting a football that has impacted this nerve on my left groin. When I do a lunge stretch for left leg - the sensation is one of severe burning.

    I am seeking medical advice again - as I have history of degenerative disc disease at L4/L5 & S1. 18 month old MRI also shows some foramen stenosis.

    My new concern is for past two years - I get some numbness in balls of both feet that comes and goes that is exacerbated - believe it or not - when I am sleeping. Very strange sensation that has limited my physical exercise regimen and caused weight gain. A viscous cycle!

    My question to doctors will be:

    1. Is the nerve damage permanent
    2. What's could Minimally Invasive Surgery address - if anything?
  • elladeellad Posts: 1
    edited 01/31/2016 - 8:39 PM
    My left has been numb for many years. At the onset of the numbness I passed out and fell to my floor for several hours. When I awakened my left thigh was numb for over a month. The numbness went away. About a year ago the numbness returned and now radiates to my left foot. I have herniated disks that protrude on the right side and severe pain in my lower right back. When I stand for 30 minutes to an hour my thigh becomes numb. The numbness is an off and on sensation. I have no pain with the numbness, only in my lower back. I was going to have spine surgery but the doctor refused to do it because of my weight. Should I seek another doctor?

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  • hi I'm sorry to hear you have had such trouble.

    I recently had a treatment for chronic headaches and neck pain. this treatment just helped my friend with her numb leg that just became that way for no reason, it then became so painfull she couldn't walk. my right arm was numb and in pain. there is a bone at the top of your cervical spine called the C1 atlas. not many docs deal with this or know that it can actually be misaligned, and when misaligned it pushes on the spinal cord, cranial nerves and a lot more causing, neck back head arm leg pan, numbness, shooting pains, FM, sciatica and so much more. it's insane I tell you. I was desperate with my pain as was depressed and ready to quit it all. I found this women who was trained as an atlas profilax specialist. she uses a tool to massage the sub occipital muscles that hold the bone in place, when they relax the bone slides into its natural place. the difference we have had since treatment is amazing. we have our lives back and have sent two more friends this week. one small bone which comes out of alignment in birth mostly or by  an accident like a fall or crash, can cause a lifetime of issues and people have no idea. I am here trying to get the word out as people who have bulging disc can get relief. mine have released and I no longer have tingling or numbness in my arm, I could tell you so much more but don't want to sound like a fruit loop rambling. please do look into this and decide for yourself. for 180 pound I have my life back : )

    all the best
  • My dr diagnosed me w. this also - has anyone found dissipation over time or treatment that has been effective? He said that if it became really bothersome then we might attempt a procedure that reduced the pressure on the nerves for both legs - thoughts? 

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