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Thread: Nerve Pain Medication

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99

    Nerve Pain Medication

    Hi! I was hoping to get feedback on nerve pain medication-does it have similar side effects to narcotics? Hoping to hear your experiences. Debating whether or not it would be helpful for me or if I should just continue along with OTC meds.

    Could muscle relaxers provide relief by calming down surrounding tissue?
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,978
    Although I have read that others had problems adjusting to neurontin/gabapentin, I had no problems with it and it helped my nerve problems-- I had developed excruciating leg pains about 3 weeks after my surgery and had to go back to see my surgeon and that is when I began my neurontin. I also took it in conjunction, for awhile, with valium/diazapam. Those, along with hydrocodone sure helped me feel much better (smile). Actually, I still experienced some pain, but it was livable, but the leg problem was gone. I think some others have had side effects to the neurontin that made them feel sick or not with it. I did not have that problem at all. The only problem I experienced that probably stemmed from my meds at one point was having the room spin around when I was lying down, and that went away after awhile. Best wishes.
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    I have been taking Neurontin for 6 1/2 years for residual nerve pain and have had no problems. The only thing that it did other that helping immensely with the nerve pain was to help me sleep soundly for a few nights every time I upped the dosage. Good luck finding what is right for you.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    104

    Effects of gabapentin

    I took gabapentin (generic for neurotin) for a couple of months. I had followed the schedule of gradually increasing the dosage over a few days when I first started, but apparently it was too much for my system. I would just break down in tears for no reason. So I backed down slowly and restarted the process by spreading the increased dosages over a longer time. That seemed to work for me. The other side effect that I had is that I had great difficulty in reading and typing on the computer, because I would keep flipping words and spelling around as if I was dyslexic. Hope you find something that works for you.

    Donna
    Female - 49 yrs old at surgery
    Surgery 5/5/11 - Dr. Bridwell, St. Louis
    Fused T3-L3
    60 degree thoracic curve corrected to 30 degrees
    Tennis player & returning to the courts!
    http://s1050.photobucket.com/profile/walkingmom1/index

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    Thank you so much for your feedback, ladies. It sounds like it would be worth pursuing for me.
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,572
    Spring chicken, where exactly is your pain and what does it feel like?

    I was very sedated on Gabapentin. Some of the sedation might be due to the combination of Neurontin with he other meds that I take.

    Finding the right combination of drugs at the right amount in a craps shoot! Then, when you figure that out, a month or so later, the pain changes.

    Good luck!

    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    Susan, I have a pain in the right lower lumbar that flares up into my right hip and then sometimes down my leg into my knee. It's a deep burning like I've been stabbed or something. Just the nerves and tissue waking up from my previously concave side. My left side, which used to be bad, is fine now.

    Thanks for your message-I did hear the meds caused drowsiness. Maybe I would hold off on days I had to travel to office.

    On a happy front, today I got my first massage since surgery. It was amazing and made me think maybe there's hope for me after all! Just having such little pain for the rest of the day was so encouraging. It was a "medical massage" with someone familiar with fusions.
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,572
    Quote Originally Posted by springchicken View Post
    Susan, I have a pain in the right lower lumbar that flares up into my right hip and then sometimes down my leg into my knee. It's a deep burning like I've been stabbed or something. Just the nerves and tissue waking up from my previously concave side. My left side, which used to be bad, is fine now.

    Thanks for your message-I did hear the meds caused drowsiness. Maybe I would hold off on days I had to travel to office.

    On a happy front, today I got my first massage since surgery. It was amazing and made me think maybe there's hope for me after all! Just having such little pain for the rest of the day was so encouraging. It was a "medical massage" with someone familiar with fusions.
    I have had 2 massages and obviously, the masseuse did not know anything about spinal fusion. I was in pain for 3 weeks. Never again!
    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal Spinal Cord Injury T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone
    2018: Removal L4,5 screw

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    Hi all-
    I'm almost 8 months post op. Still have the nerve pain on my rt side. I still take Tylenol every day along with aspirin or 2 mg dilaudid (since I have them left over) about once a week. I feel like my very bad days are less frequent but I am never pain free. I am making some progress , though sitting remains difficult.

    Just wondering... If I had a screw impinging on a nerve or something, I would be in severe pain all the time, right? Still hoping that this pain is normal. But I guess if when I go back for my one year appointment if I'm still the same I would get a more thorough test, like a ct scan?
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    804
    Hi. I understand that you have nerve pain on your side. Mine started when they added to the thoracic fusion. It was uncomfortable but not intense. I was on meds like gabapentin for years. Sometimes more or less it just varied. I just had part of my hardware out last Wednesday. I think it is better but not gone. I have reduced the nerve meds by one a day. The real test is when I am back on regular tasks. I had a lot of metal in one place and that was taken out on the left side but left in on the right. I did a lot of talking with the doctor and he did a ct scan before. He did say that it was hard to tell. I see him on Thursday and will ask more questions then. I waited over 3 years but yours is newer. I think the doctors want at least 2 years. I will let you know what he says on Thursday.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    Hi Jackie,
    Thanks for your reply-it's exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I read back over your earlier posts again...so you had this pain for three years since your surgery? Did you have earlier ct scans done with inconclusive results? I really hope your revision surgery gives you pain relief! It sounds promising if you are feeling a little better already.

    I'm guessing I won't know for a long while if this is normal recovery pain or something else...
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    804
    Hi Spring, I saw the Dr today. We went over what was removed. The incision is about 14 inches long and that surprised me but I was told the vertebrae in the thoracic are spaced further apart. Well so far both of us are pleased with the outcome. The nerve pain is not gone but has moved further to the side. He said that was a good sign and it could take some time to heal completely. I was able to maintain activity on one less nerve pill a day. After more than 3 years on the meds I was told that was a good she sign.I hope it is going in right direction. I will keep you posted.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    That does sound like a good sign, Jackie! I hope you will continue to feel better and better as time goes on! Definitely keep us posted.
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    99
    Well it looks like I'll be getting an epidural (hopefully not too long from now) as a diagnostic and pain reliever. I'm relieved to finally be taken seriously about my pain and frustrated this process couldn't have been started months ago, but oh well.

    I feel like my surgeon's PA wasn't really "hearing" me before when I tried to explain how localized my pain was. Now she is concerned so I'm happy that I finally insisted on describing in detail what was happening. Lesson learned on my part.
    Surgery Jan 6, 2014 at 38 yrs
    Posterior Fusion T10-L4, osteotomy 1 lev.
    Pre op-Thoracolumbar Curve-50 degrees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Chicago-"land"
    Posts
    157
    Springchicken, I take Lyrica for nerve pain. Originally as my body was healing after surgery those nerves became alive after "sleeping" post surgery and it's helped my pain overall, so I'm still on it.

    For some reason that is beyond me, they have classified it as a controlled substance. There are side effects - some experience memory loss, sedation (I take it at night) and some others that you should discuss with your doctor; but I've been on it for about 5 years. I'm at a high dose that I'm not liking so am going to tell dr. to lower the dose.

    Originally, I was on mscontin and dilaudid alternately, and after some time, the narcotics created their own pain. It's a well known syndrome which is why I was always amping up. After a difficult withdrawal, I found I had almost no pain and what I did have Lyrica and rest and naproxen worked very well for me.

    Research Lyrica - it's an alternative to gabapentin which never did one thing for me, but everyone is different. Just another point of view for you to consider. Best of luck!!
    Susan
    XLIF/Posterior Surgery 6/16/08. Fused T10-L5 in CA by Dr. Michael Kropf (don't go there unless it's simple, I hear he's at Cedar's now). Very deformed, had revision w/5 PSO's, rods from T-3 to sacrum including iliac screws, all posterior, 5/23/16 with Dr. Purnendu Gupta of Chicago.


    Owner of Chachi the Chihuahua, So Cal born and bred, now a resident of 'Chicagoland' Illinois. Uh, dislike it here....thank God there was ONE excellent spine surgeon in this area.

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