Cruralgia is severe pain in the leg. Near the sciatic nerve, in the most severe cases, it can cause paralysis, especially around the knee and foot.
Definition: What is cruralgia?
Cruralgia, or right lumbar pain, is a sharp pain caused by compression of one of the two roots of the femoral nerve. Its symptoms, causes and treatment are very similar to those of sciatica, as both result from inflammation of a nerve in the lumbar region (lower back). Only the path of pain differs.
Less common than sciatica, cruralgia is however more painful. It mostly affects people over 50.
Symptoms of cruralgia
Cruralgia is severe pain starting at the beginning of the thigh and along the femoral nerve. It starts from the lumbar roots (L4, L3 or L2), bypasses the spinal cord and travels along the thigh. It controls the contraction of the muscles and the tenderness of the anterior aspect of the leg and ends in the foot.
In some cases, parts of the body are partially or completely paralyzed, such as the knee, heel or tiptoes. This is called paralytic cruralgia. Pressure on the nerve can also cause irreversible damage.
Causes of cruralgia
Cruralgia is often non-infectious in origin. It can be due to a narrowing of the femoral nerve by a herniated disc, to the deterioration of the spinal disc due to general wear or to arthritis, to a deterioration of the spine such as scoliosis or a narrowing of the lumbar canal.
In the most severe cases, the cause of cruralgia may be spondylodiscitis. This is a serious infection of the spinal discs and a medical emergency that must be treated immediately. The presence of a tumor in a lumbar vertebrae can also compromise the femoral nerve.
Treatment: How to cure cruralgia
As with sciatica, the first thing to do is to organize a period of absolute rest of two days. This is because staying too long in bed can weaken the back muscles that support the spine and therefore slow down the healing process.
Drug treatment is usually prescribed by a doctor at the onset. symptoms to reduce pain. It is mainly based on taking paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If the pain is too severe, pain relievers with morphine may also be offered. This type of treatment has limited effectiveness accompanied by short and long-term adverse effects.
Without a positive outcome after 2-3 months, a doctor may order additional examinations such as an MRI or an X-ray of the spine. Surgery may be suggested later, depending on the cause of the cruralgia. It may be an enlargement of the lumbar canal, fixation of the spine, or removal of the herniated disc. These operations can be performed as non-invasive surgery, which reduces the chances of postoperative complications.
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