Marijuana and Meralgia

Marijuana and Meralgia:

Results From PatientsLikeMe Survey Highlight Patient Beliefs About Medical Marijuana

 

A new survey of 219 PatientsLikeMe members has found that patients with certain conditions who use medical marijuana believe it is the best available treatment for them, with fewer side effects than other options and few risks. The survey, conducted in June 2015, is among the first to gauge patient perceptions about the benefits and risks of medical marijuana and their level of willingness to recommend its use.

PatientsLikeMe’s Vice President for Advocacy, Policy, and Patient Safety, Sally Okun, RN said that while the number of respondents and conditions represented is limited, the survey and its results come at an important time. “As more people consider using medical marijuana, and more states legalize it, patients need to know what others are experiencing. This survey starts to gather real world data about marijuana as medicine—information that may be useful for patients and their physicians as they explore options and make treatment decisions.”

Half of the survey respondents started using medical marijuana in the last five years, while 25% started to do so in the last two years. Smoking (71%), edibles (55%), and vaporizing (49%) were the most commonly used methods for taking the treatment. The top three conditions represented were multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and depression. Key findings are as follows:

Usage and Perceived Side Effects

  • About three quarters (74%) of survey respondents agree that medical marijuana is the best treatment available for their health issue. Another 20% are unsure if there is another option available.
  • 76% report that they use medical marijuana because other treatments weren’t working and/or caused too many side effects. About 21% use it to avoid the side effects of other treatments.
  • When asked about the severity of side effects from using marijuana, 86% of PatientsLikeMe members who report using marijuana indicate the side effects are either “none” or “mild.” The same group says those side effects include dry mouth, increased appetite, and sleepiness.

Perceived Benefits and Risks

  • Survey respondents use medical marijuana for more than one reason, including to treat pain (75%), muscle stiffness or spasms (69%), insomnia (67%) and anxiety (55%). The majority (63%) considered marijuana as a treatment option because they think it is more natural.
  • Most (93%) say that they would recommend medical marijuana to another patient.
  • About 61% say their healthcare provider is supportive of their medical marijuana use, and 60% have a letter of recommendation or prescription.
  • Most patients report a low level of concern (“Not at all” or “A little”) with long-term health risks, such as developing lung cancer (89%), long-term lung damage (86%), or becoming addicted/dependent (96%).
  • One in four patients (26%) report being “Somewhat” or “Very” concerned with legal problems.

Can Medical Marijuana Treat Meralgia Paresthetica?

I’d suffered from meralgia paresthetica pain for a year before visiting a friend in California who suggested medical marijuana. He said marijuana has two potentially helpful actions: it’s an analgesic and an anti-inflammatory. I knew that marijuana is non-toxic and…this was California – so what could go wrong? My friend baked up a batch of brownies (he’s against smoking of any kind and says that you need to ingest all the parts of the plant to get the full benefits) and gave me half of his ‘standard’ brownie. Within 30 minutes I’d not only lost track of time, I’d also lost consciousness of my chronic pain. Eureka! At last I’d found a natural alternative to my favorite pharmaceutical, gabapentin. (I also understood why pharmaceutical companies fight so hard to ban marijuana!).

Marijuana’s action as an analgesic (pain killer) removed my pain symptoms while its anti-inflammatory action soothed my inflamed lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (or LFCN: the nerve that, when compressed and irritated, gives rise to meralgia symptoms).

Since that happy day I’ve been able to give up pharmaceuticals completely. Better yet, I’ve been able to begin the exercise routine in the book: I feel so relaxed when I stretch that I sometimes hold the posture just for the pleasure of it.

Here’s Dr. D.I. Abrams talking about his research with marijuana and neuropathy (nerve pain):

Worth Reading: In the video above, Dr Abrams talks about publishing his research. Here’s the research in published form: Cannabis in painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy A randomized placebo-controlled trial.

What is Meralgia Paresthetica?

What on Earth is Meralgia Paresthetica?

What exactly is meralgia paresthetica? Also called 20120112-145152.jpgBernhardt-Roth syndrome, Meralgia Parasthetica, Neuralgia Paraesthetica, femoral cutaneous nerve syndrome, LFCN syndrome, or burning thigh syndrome–is caused not by injury to the thigh, but by injury to a nerve that extends from the thigh to the spinal column: the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, or LFCN. The term Meralgia Paraesthetica comprises four Greek roots, which together denote “thigh pain with anomalous perception”. In other words, you perceive the pain not at the point of injury to the nerve, but somewhere else: where the nerve ends.

The nerve root comes out of your spinal cord between the lowest (or twelfth) thoracic vertebra and the highest (or first) lumbar vertebra, usually abbreviated (T12) and (L1) and comes close to the skin when it exits from under the inguinal ligament. (See illustration)

SYMPTOMS

  • pain can be experienced anywhere from your hip to your knee
  • pain tends to move around
  • pain is strongest at night and diminishes by day
  • usually involves weakness in the affected leg and numbness and/or tingling.
  • numbness and/or pain in the outer thigh
  • abnormal or heightened sensitivity to touch in the outer thigh.
  • burning pain
  • pain may extend to the knees, groin, or buttocks
  • in 80% of cases, symptoms occur on only one side of the body.

DURATION
Though many people suffer from long term and chronic meralgia, MP typically lasts about 6-12 weeks. This can be reduced to 3-4 weeks using the treatments described here.

OCCURRENCE, FREQUENCY
World wide, Meralgia Parasthetica newly afflicts about 10,000 people every day.

So now you know what is Meralgia Paresthetica is. The rest of this site tells you what you can do to relieve its symptoms.

You can download Curing Meralgia Paresthetica here.

 

 

[email protected]

Relieve Meralgia Symptoms at Night

THIS evening regime will help you get 6-8 hours sleep and not wake up feeling “dopey”:20120112-160247.jpg

FIRST NIGHT:
1. Take one Sandoz 300 mg. Gabapentin (or equivalent) 8 hours before bedtime

2. Take another 300 mg. Gabapentin 4 hours before bedtime

3. Take another 300 mg Gabapentin just before you lie down, along with 3 Neofenac (diclofenac sodium) 25 mg. (more, if your doctor recommends it).

4. Get down on the floor and do the Finger-Walking Child’s Pose exercise (see Exercises)

5. Just before you tuck yourself in, apply Capsaicin cream, as directed, to you inguinal region.

SECOND NIGHT
1. If the first night worked well, consider taking just two Gabapentin on the second night. One 4 hours before bedtime, and the other plus two Neofenac painkillers as you go to sleep.

2. Get down on the floor and do the Finger-Walking Child’s Pose exercise (see Exercises)

3. Just before you tuck yourself in, apply your Capsaicin cream, as directed, to you inguinal region.

4. This second-night drug regime can be safely maintained thereafter.

IN BED
1. Do the Yoga “Bridge”, (see the Exercises page) while lying on your back in bed.

2. Do a 360-degree rotation of your tailbone while keeping your spine and buttocks still. Start out slowly tracing tiny circles with the tip of your tailbone–barely visible to an observer–and work your way up to larger circles. Always moving slowly and deliberately.

3. Sleep (on your side) with a pillow between your legs. This keeps your knees apart and reduces tension on your hip.

4. As soon as you wake up, sit up as directed above, get up, and apply your capsaicin cream, and do the Yoga Child’s Pose + Finger Walk (see the Exercises page). This helps dispel any residual night pain and allows you to start your day without more drugs. If you stay in bed, for some reason the pain seems to get worse. So swing your legs over the side of the bed and sit up.

MIDNIGHT TRICKS
1. If you wake up in pain during the night, don’t just lie there focusing on your pain

2. Sit upright on the edge of your bed (that really helps).

3. Take another painkiller if it’s 3-4 hours since the last one.

4. Wrap some ice in a washcloth or hand towel and apply it to your inguinal region, your T12/L1 region, and the region where you are currently feeling pain. That will do two things: diminish the pain and distract you from focusing on the pain, which is almost as good.

5. Do the the same with a hot cloth. Alternating between cold and hot compresses can be most effective.

6. Drink a soothing soporific like hot milk or Valerian tea with honey.

7. Use the Buddha Machine (Apple iTunes app) or any soothing noise generator.

MORNING ROUTINE: WHEN YOU WAKE UP

20120114-113542.jpg1. When you wake up in the morning, move around slowly and carefully.

2. Make yourself a large cup of strong Irish Breakfast tea with milk and sugar (coffee’s fine, too, but harder on your tummy). You’ll find that it lifts your spirits and that, in itself, will diminish your perception of pain.

3. While your tea or coffee is brewing, get down on the floor and do the Get down on the floor and do the Finger-Walking Child’s Pose exercise SLOWLY, GENTLY, AND COMPLETELY.

Relieve Meralgia Symptoms at night by following the instructions above and you’ll soon be on the mend!

You can download Curing Meralgia Paresthetica here.

[email protected]

Meralgia Paresthetica Natural Treatments

Meralgia Paresthetica Natural Treatments to Help You

1. Icing

Experiment with icing T12/L1, and also with icing your inguinal region: Wrap some crushed ice in a thick hand towel and apply it gently and repeatedly to your spine. You can also try icing the area where the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve comes close to your skin as it exits from behind the inguinal ligament.

2. Heating
A hot, moist towel applied to the T12/L1 region and the inguinal region: apply it gently and repeatedly to your spine. You can also apply it to your inguinal region and to the painful area of your hip, thigh, or leg.

3. Epsom Salts Bath20120112-144141.jpg
Epsom salts is a common mineral salt called magnesium sulfate. When magnesium sulfate is absorbed through the skin, such as in a bath, it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, is a natural emollient, exfoliator, and much more. Take an Epsom Salt bath with a follow-through of icing the T12/L1: Soak in a tub of warm water with 2 cups of Epsom salt.

Capsaicin
Capsaicin is the active component of chili peppers, plants belonging to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant for mammals, including humans, and can produce a sensation of burning when applied to the skin. But, when applied topically (to your skin) it, for reasons still unknown, RELIEVES PAIN. Yay!20120112-144220.jpg

But first, a few warnings: Before using capsaicin, tell your doctor about:

  • broken skin
  • skin irritation
  • previous allergic reactions to capsaicin, hot peppers
  • breastfeeding
  • pregnancy or current attempts to become pregnant

Buy a tube of capsaicin cream over the counter and follow the directions by rubbing a small amount into your skin where the nerve exits below the inguinal ligament, and at the T12/L1 joint area. Keep a soapy wash cloth handy in case you’re supersensitive. Otherwise, in 5 minutes you’ll start feeling relief which will last up to 4 hours. If your relief is not sufficient try a stronger concentration cream. You won’t develop a tolerance to it, so you can use it night and day.

Carry a tube of capsaicin cream with you everywhere and apply it when your pain reminds you to. When puzzled friends see you frantically fumbling in your crotch, just say brightly, “I’m applying capsaicin to my inguinal region” and they’ll never ask again.

Acupuncture

20120112-144337.jpgFind a Chinese acupuncturist–they usually have offices in Chinese herb shops–show him these pages and describe your symptoms. Acupuncture can provide remarkable relief and should b included in everyone’s regimen. Ignore the fearful nonsense about acupuncture being painful, etc. The little pinpricks are nothing compared to what you’re suffering! In fact, they’ll probably feel good because they immediately move your energy. Ask your TCM (traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner if there is a herbal prescription that might help. Chinese herbs are inexpensive and very effective.

Pain Management
There are pain management clinics in every major city. Before you spend the money, consider learning some pain management tricks yourself. An excellent textbook is Bonica’s Management of Pain [Hardcover]. Buy a used copy at Amazon ($20) and educate yourself.

Weight Loss
If you’re over your optimum weight then change your diet and eating habits and get regular exercise. And any extra weight complicates and delays your recovery. The quickest, easiest, safest way to shed pounds is a juice fast: fresh, organic, raw fruit and vegetable juices for 30 days. If you don’t one a juicer and can’t borrow one, buy a Panasonic centrifugal juicer. Quick and, most important, EASY TO CLEN–the secret to successful juicing!.

Massage
Massage from a knowledgeable masseuse can be remarkably effective. Before your session take time to show them the anatomy illustration above, talk about the T12/L1 junction, and discuss your symptoms. A qualified Thai masseuse can do wonders to relieve your symptoms!

Walking up Stairs
Avoid walking as much as possible. Above all, don’t make the mistake I did: you’re feeling pretty good. All the things you’ve been doing are paying off: you feel no pain! So you climb the stairs like a normal person, taking great delight in being able to push off the stairs with your bad leg. Big mistake. That night will be agonizing, possibly the worst night since your symptoms started. For some reason, pushing off like that, and lifting your whole body weight by extending the ball of your foot exacerbates the problem. Be warned!

And, Finally
If you have any tips to help relieve the symptoms of meralgia paraesthetica, please email me and I will add them to the list. Between us, we can do a great deal to help others sufferers–and ourselves!

You can download Curing Meralgia Paresthetica here.

[email protected]

REFERENCES
Mayo Clinic: Meralgia Paresthetica
Dr. Joseph Hayes: Treating Meralgia Paresthetica During Pregnancy
Shaw Chiropractic: Exam Glossary
“Journal of Chiropractic Medicine”: A Manual Therapy and Exercise Approach to Meralgia Paresthetica in Pregnancy: A Case Report; C. D. Skaggs, et al.; 2006
“Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation”: Myofascial Pain: Relief by Post-Isometric Relaxation; K. Lewit and D. G. Simons; August 1984
Mayo Clinic: Meralgia Paresthetica, Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Article reviewed by Nancy Jacoby Last updated on: Jun 14, 2011