Although many people have not heard of meralgia paraesthetica, (MP) it is one of those conditions that when you have got it, you certainly know about it: it is such a painful condition, with pain being felt in the outer thigh. It can frequently occur in people who are overweight or obese; but this is not always the case.
People who wear very tight clothing can sometimes find that they develop this condition simply because there is pressure on the groin area. So people who wear uniforms that usually require a belt, such as police officers, traffic wardens, security people etc can all find that they develop meralgia paraesthetica, even if they are not generally obese or overweight.
People who have sustained an injury or sports injury can also be at risk from developing MP, so you should not assume that it is caused purely by being overweight.
Recently more and more patients are responding well to pulsed radiofrequency treatment for MP, but many patients have not heard of this or they have read that there are not enough trial results to indicate that it is really useful and they are slightly nervous about it.
What Is Pulsed Radiofrequency?
Pulsed radiofrequency is used to treat pain conditions. However it is important to note that it is slightly different from other radiofrequency treatments. With standard radio frequency treatments the nerves are effectively ‘killed off’ so that they stop feeling pain. This is done using a process of heating the nerves and they are then simply deadened.
Pulsed radiofrequency is different. It works in a less dramatic fashion. An electro-magnetic field is created that is applied to a nerve and it is not heated to the same level as traditional radiofrequency. So the nerve does not die off. Instead it is actually tricked into believing that it does not feel pain. It is in a sense returned to the days when you had no pain in that area. Thus the nerve is simply in a state where it thinks that everything is ok and as a result it doesn’t send pain signals to the brain.
Pulsed Radiofrequency Versus Standard Radiofrequency
Standard radiofrequency is still a very safe procedure, but it should be noted that the nerve or nerves are left damaged, by the procedure. Although this does not present any problems in terms of safety, because pulsed radiofrequency does not result in the nerves being damaged, it is preferable to use this treatment option.
Through using pulsed radiofrequency, the nerves are fine and pain is reduced, so it is preferable to standard radiofrequency every time.
Efficacy of Pulsed Radiofrequency for MP
Many patients find that pulsed radiofrequency elicits more than a few months of pain reduction, so it can be extremely useful and if patients have been undertaking exercise, weight management and not wearing tight belts in the interim, the condition can often be completely eradicated and a secondary course of radiofrequency treatment is not required. So it is very useful and its role in pain management should not be underestimated!