Why Do I Have Pain in My Upper Thigh When I Sit in a Car?


Asked by Allen Barrett

I Have Severe Pain In My Upper Left Thigh. It Is Difficult To Sit In A Car.

I have severe pain in my upper left thigh. It is difficult to sit in a car or in a restaurant booth. It is a tight pain, throbbing just in the upper left thigh muscle. What could be causing this?


A little known entrapment neuropathy called Meralgia Paresthetica causes pain in the front of the thigh while sitting or sometimes standing/walking. The nerve that is pinched is called the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. The pinch occurs in the groin at the crease when you sit. The closer the knees are to the chest, the more pinch is in the crease and in the nerve. The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is also sensitive to stretching which is why walking can also cause anterior thigh pain.

Usually, the pain from a pinch lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can be relieved by changing the way someone sits. Like sitting with the leg stretch out in front of you (in the car: avoid bucket seats and try adjusting the seat further away from the pedals). Over time, the pain may improve.

A neurologist can give you an acurate diagnosis based on your history and exam. A nerve test can also give a clear, definitive diagnosis of Meralgia Parestetica and rule out other reasons to have pain in the thigh. Other possibilities exist (like a pinch nerve in the low back), so talk it over with your doctor.

Here are some links that might be useful to you, as well:

What Can Be Done for Nerve Pain?

Why Yoga Can Help Soothe Many Types of Chronic Pain

You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.