Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pain has a name

Over the last couple years, the dulled sensation in the upper right-side of my right thigh has gotten to be more - well - noticeable. It feels like your leg is falling asleep. Pins-and-needles. Tingles. And yet outwardly desensitized to the touch. Not a sharp focused pain but rather a muted dull numbness that runs from my hip down to the outer right side of my kneecap.

Upon reflection, it was 'there' in 2010 throughout my Ironman training but less annoying because I was religiously stretching and visiting the chiropractor. Since my 50-mile race in the Black Hills however, the sensation has turned from annoyingly-dull to persistent-and-disruptively-painful. Now, it is ever-present with more powerful, sharp "pinches" in my quad that pop my eyes open and illicit a 'damn, that hurt' response.

My own research and description of symptoms led me to think that I had some form of myalgia, maybe even restless legs syndrome. Turns out I'm I'm a better runner than I am doctor (go figure). After providing a brief description of my symptoms to my new primary physician, he diagnosed me with Meralgia Paresthetica, or Bernhardt-Roth syndrome.

Basically, there is a nerve (actually a set of nerves) that run from your spine, through your pelvis and down the outside of your thigh that become compressed due to swelling, injury or just plain overuse. Of course, a compressed nerve is not getting all the juice it needs to behave normally.

I'm excited that my pain now has a name but in the same breath, bummed by the possibility I may have to sit on my can and 'rest' throughout my treatment.

To begin with, treatment consists of physical therapy. Two times a week for 4-6 weeks. I anticipate the stretching and exercises will be things I can do at home so I will probably just take the PT guidance and then incorporate it into my routine.

So there you go...Meralgia Persthetica. Say that 5 times fast :)

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