Many patients with nerve pain waste months even years trying treatments such as injections or physical therapy. In reality surgery is usually the only way to get permanent relief.
In this video Dr. Tollestrup explains why.
Transcript: It’s a mild type of injury, the nerve can regenerate on its own and the pain can resolve. If it’s a more severe type of injury that actually ends up in damage to the nerve that the nerve can’t fix on its own, or if the nerve becomes entrapped in scar tissue or compressed by external forces, then no amount of conservative physical therapy or other types of interventions are going to be able to change that fact. The only thing that really can make a difference is surgery, to go in and relieve the pressure on the nerve, or if the nerve has been damaged, to disconnect the nerve and put the proximal end of the nerve somewhere where it won’t be irritated and cause further pain.
In specific situations, particularly with meralgia paresthetica, if you get to the injury early and it’s not too severe of an injury, a well-timed steroid shot around the nerve can help to reduce swelling, reduce inflammation, and speed up the recovery process.
That, unfortunately, rarely happens to people in the first four weeks/eight weeks of this type of injury. Usually, it’s a year or more before anybody even gives them an idea of what’s going on. By that time, if they’re having severe symptoms, it usually indicates either, depending on what the history is, that the nerve has been irreparably damaged, or that there’s a fixed mechanical compression of the nerve which is not going to resolve with these sort of measures that are just conservative in nature, whether it’s physical therapy or acupuncture or lotions or whatever.