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What helps that burning pain ?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had combined anterior and posterior L4 - s1 fusion with instrumentation on December 10. I had about two weeks of relief from the burning in my left buttocks that I have had for two years. I am also pleased to say that the pain used to travel down my left leg is gone.

Now the burning is back and it is intense. Most of the time it feels like a burning, sharp heat in my left butt cheek. Sometimes, it escalates to something like electricity shooting down my leg.

My question is what has worked most successfully for you with nerve pain. I have taken Neurontin for about a year now. Not sure that it really does anything but afraid not to take as maybe the pain is much worse.

I would be really interested in any feedback if you were on neurontin but switched to lyrica or other meds with more success. I soooo want this burning to stop!


  • with the same issues in my left foot, where I had drop foot. The best relief i have found was the tens unit and ice ice ice ice! Those were for immediate relief, for longer term relief I hope someone else on here posts and knows something because that burning is horrid pain. I hope it gets better for the both of us:) hang in there

  • to Lyrica from Neurontin and have had much better coverage of that burning. The doctor combined it with Cymbalta and that combination was what did it for me. I am on the high side of dosage but for the first time in 2 years something is finally touching the pain/burning. Hope that helps. Good luck in finding the right recipe to control your burning.
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  • What I did for the pain in my butt cheeks was use the icy hot patches. They have the big ones that last for 8 hours that you are supposed to use on your lower back. Well, I put them on my butt. Hurt like hell to take it off but it felt so good when it was on. It really helped with the muscle spasms too.
  • I have been having nerve pain in my right thigh since my surgery and I was switched from neurontin to Lyrica. I still have nerve pain, but I believe that the Lyrica has made it much more tolerable. For me the only downside has been that the Lyrica makes me sleepy. This side effect was really bad at first, but now it only makes me a little sleepy.

    Julie, that is interesting to know that the Cymbalta also helped you. My GP mentioned that as a possible alternative to my Lexapro for my situational depression. If my nerve pain doesn't eventually go away I may ask her about switching me to the Cymbalta.

  • Lyrica works much better for me than Neurontin.
    Was on Cymbalta with it for a short time until they came out with the warnings not to take it with migraine medicine.

    And a heating pad on my butt, another on my legs and elevating my legs helps for me!
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  • It is the combination that really works together for me. I wondered if the Cymbalta really helped or if it was the Lyrica and I had a myelogram and had to stop the Cymbalta for 3 days and I will tell you that it made a huge difference. My doctor said I could stop the Lyrica to see if that made a difference and I said no (as he expected) that I had learned my lesson the first time. Nothing else had worked on my nerve pain. This combination does. But the dose I have to take makes me very sleepy with the morning dose. I think finally my body is getting used to it after 3 weeks on the higher dose. My depression is situational too and this really helped. Good luck.
  • I too have severe nerve pain, mine is in my left lower leg, top of foot and toes, 4 weeks post op. My NS had me on the max dose of Lyrica but that caused swelling in my lower legs that made me hurt worse. So now I'm on a lower dose, 150mg twice a day, but still had the burning. What really helped was the addition of Cymbalta. I could tell a difference in 24 hours! The burning is controlled so much better now. Just having pain 24/7 can be depressing so the Cymbalta may help that as well. Hope this helps.
  • Medication-wise I had only tried Lyrica and Cymbalta for my bilateral leg nerve pain. I was up to max dose of Lyrica and it did help significantly with nerve pain but my symptoms were still severe. I did not like the side effects of Lyrica-weight gain, fuzzy head feeling, forgetfullness-but it helped the nerve pain.

    I tried Cymbalta at the same time as Lyrica for both nerve pain and depression. I do not think that it helped me for nerve pain at all. I definitely needed something for depression. I went off Cymbalta. The side effects can be a little hard to get used to, but they did go away for me after a couple of weeks(headaches, sleeplessness, and some other weird stuff.)

    Both of these medications are expensive as compared to some of the older medicines, so if you pay out of pocket for meds, this might factor into your desicision.

    I am no longer on either of these meds as I have just had a couple of surgeries and need to see what is really needed at this point, but I am interested in trying Neurontin at some point for my nerve pain that is permanent in my right leg.

    Other med I've heard folks take: Nortriptyline which is an older med but some folks find it more tolerable and cheaper than Lyrica or Neurontin.

    Have you ever tried a TENS unit?

    OK, this may sound a little nutty to you(and I am not a borderline personality disorder), but distraction is one of the best things for my nerve pain. I will bounce my foot(kind of like when a little kid has to pee really bad and bounces their foot) and that bouncing sort of gives me a different sensation for me to focus on. Obviously this doesn't work all of the time, but if I have to sit, like in the car or in a waiting room, bouncing that foot a bit helps. I also used to pinch my thigh-yeah, this sounds a little nutty, but it's the same theory, distraction. It gives me something else to focus on rather than the intense, chronic pain. I guess the best way to expalin it is like when you hurt really bad and the nurse sticks in an IV and you forget about your pain for a moment because the needle poke hurts. That's why I used to pinch my thigh, it distracted me.

    Laying down and resting helps with nerve pain flare-ups too. I like heating pads and ice, just depending on the day.

    I find that Zanaflex at night helps me get a bit of sleep and yet is also a muscle relaxer. Keep in mind that it causes low blood pressure while taking it so if you have issues with low bp already, it might not be for you. It does not work on the nerve pain itself, it just knocks me out so that I can get some sleep. When I don't sleep, it makes it even harder to tolerate nerve pain during the day.

    Have you done something recently that may have overdone things? New exercise program or longer walks, etc. And of course, I have to ask, did you have BMP during surgery? If your preop leg pain goes away with surgery but then returns postop(expecially weeks 4-6) with no other explanation, sometimes it could be a possiblity that BMP is growing bone on your nerve roots. This is not the usual complication, but it can happen.

    Most doctors will not allow patients to take steroids or NSAIDS(like Motrin or Advil) for 3-6 months after fusion, but some do allow their patients to take them especially if you are having a flare-up. There are several folks here who took NSAIDS and/or steroids and still had successful fusions. Some docs will prescribe a short course of oral steriods and/or anti-inflammatories to see if they can calm things down for you. Please do not do this without talking to your surgeon first. Of course I assume you have reported your symptoms to your surgeon already, right? :)

    Please keep all of us updated so we know how you're doing and maybe it will be something that can help someone else too!
  • lyrica really helped my burning...much better than neurontin. but I was gaining weight after a very fast pace..so I stopped it. the problem with so many meds is they help, but the side effects stink! I am sure not everyone gains weight on it, though. good luck and feel better.
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