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Lumbosacral plexus injury

Lumbosacral Plexopathy

We relieve the pain from lumbosacral plexopathy at our specialist peripheral nerve unit at The Wellington Hospital

About

The lumbosacral plexus is a network of nerve fibres supplying the muscles of your lower limbs. It's located in your lower back, and forks into branches in front of the hip joint and down your legs.

Damage to the lumbosacral plexus causes pain and weakness in the lower back. This can feel like burning, cramping and tingling.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of lumbosacral plexus injury icon plus

    There are several causes of lumbosacral plexus injury. These include forceful impact such as an accident, prolonged labour in childbirth, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Some cardiac procedures may also cause nerve damage. The main symptoms of lumbosacral plexus injuries are: - Pain in the low back and buttocks, spreading down the leg - Sensory changes to the top of the foot - Weakness in the outer thigh muscles - Deep pelvic pain which spreads down the front of the thigh In diabetics, symptoms start in the thigh and hip, notably pain and extreme weakness.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and help make a diagnosis. They will ask you about your medical history (whether you're diabetic for example) and whether you've experienced any recent trauma to the pelvis. They may order an MRI scan or CT scan to locate where the nerve fibres are being compressed. They may also want to rule out injuries with similar symptoms. MRI scans and CT scans should be considered if a structural mass is suspected in the pelvic region.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Lumbosacral plexopathy is treated according to the cause. It can sometimes be managed through a mix of physiotherapy and painkillers. Corticosteroids often help where diabetes is the cause. Nerve blocking injections, delivered into the lumbosacral plexus by ultrasound, can also be an effective treatment. These numb the injured nerves, stopping pain reaching the limb. Finally, surgery can also help. Damaged nerves are reconnected using nerve grafts taken from other parts of the body. The nerve acts as a tube or cable, guiding the nerve fibres until they grow across the gap.
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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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