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Question about nerve pain meds

hotcoffee29hhotcoffee29 Posts: 327
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Pain Management
Its been a while since I checked in....since my last post, I have continued dodgng bullets at work and trying not to get hurt from the students but it's been unavoidable a couple of times, being pulled and twisted, and bruises up and down my legs from a chair being kicked at me, however things are improving and I hope it stays that way!!

I have continued to have low back pain and horrible pain down my left leg again just like before surgery. All the way into my foot, the numbness tingling and pain, it's constant and gets worse as the day progresses. My surgeon says there is no reason for my pain, but I'll always have some degree of pain due to scolliosis and 2 back srgeries and the DDD, so I understand that, he did another steroid injection about a month ago and it really helped initially, it felt like he nailed the pain in my back but within a week all my pain had returned.

I finally decided to follow up with a neurologist, he did a full work up and sent me for a brain MRI, which was normal, and then he performed another EMG and nerve conduction test, he told me that my left leg is abnormal and permanantly damaged from nerve damage and it's chronic, this is it for the rest of my life!! He said he can't tell me when the injury occured but it has and nothing can fix it. My choices are physical therapy, steroid injections (which don't last) and medications. So I just started Gabapentin a few days ago, so far I don't notice any change so I was curious about other peoples experience with this medication is and I am concerned if it causes weight gain?? I have worked hard to loose my weight so I don't want this medication to contribute to putting the weight back on??

My other concern is, do I have to stay on this medication forever? My pain and disabling effects in my left side is permanant, how do you cope with that?

Atleast now I know why I have this pain, and why it never goes away, any advice from others dealing with this side of back problems is appreciated.

Sandra



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13

Comments

  • Neurontin (gabapentin) causes weight gain for some people. Doesn't seem to be as bad as Lyrica. Watch your eating!

    But these meds do really work, especially if you're having symptoms such as tingling or pins and needles or nerve pain.

    As for staying on it forever- you'll have to discuss this with your doctor. The meds do not repair or fix anything, they simply alter the messages to the brain so that you feel better. But, in life, many things change- new treatments, new surgeries, PT might help build some new connections- so don't give up hope!
  • Your right, new treatments are always on the horizon.
    For the last year I have searched and been through tests to find the cause of this pain and then I did another surgery which was in hope of fixing the pain, I am just now learning that there is no fix and the damage is done, it's just frustrating and I don't have the stamina like I used to to keep up with my family and it bothers me.

    My next appointment is in 3 weeks with the neurologist to see how the medication is working and go from there. I will continue to watch my diet and stay positive. Thanks so much for kind advice.

    Sandra
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  • I tried Gabapentin and I think every other med out there for nerve pain and none of them worked or I had horrible side efects :(

    I did some research on my own and found an "old" med that was first created for bed wetters and moved forward to helping people with migraines and /or depression and now nerve pain - amitriptyline.

    It has been my God sent :) However it does make me very sleepy and I have to force myself to get up in the mornings. BUT I have NO nerve pains.

    Keep it in mind in case the Gabapentin does not work out for you.

    feel free to PM me if you want any more info or my experiences on my nerve med... as there is not a lot of info out there on this med for nerve pain.

    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
  • I am on Lyrica (yep, gained gobs of weight - slowly coming off) for my neuropathy. The side effects only last a few days, and I had a night and day difference in pain relief! A lot of these nerve pain medications have to have time to build up in your body to be efficient. Maybe that is the case with what you're taking now? I hope you feel better soon. *HUGZ*

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I have been on Neurontin (Gabapentin) for over 10 years and until such time as it looses its therapeutic ability for me or some new and awesome treatment or drug comes out to replace it, I will take it for many years to come. As far as weight gain, I have not had that problem from the Neurontin however it does really give me cravings for certain sweets. I have to watch my diet in that regard. Also it is a medication that according to the printed guidelines should be taken with lots of water. Having the increased water intake also helps control the appetite and always seems to help me keep the weight off.

    I have been offered a second SCS to control the pain that the Neurontin helps me with, but until such time as it becomes ineffective I'll pass on a second SCS.

    There are other meds that work great for neuropathy as well. I have used

    Tegretol (Carbamazepine) Worked awesome for several years
    Trileptal (Oxycarbazepine) Caused horrible ear infections
    Lamictal (Lamotrigine) Worked great for a couple years
    Elavil (Amitriptyline) Didn't do a thing for me

    There are still others, but I have no experience with them. As far as the Neurontin (Gabapentin), I went through a brief adjustment where I had a bit of drowsiness but that passed in about 2 weeks and dosage increases from there went really fast and easy. I get zero side effects from it and it blows my mind how it can effect others to the point they can't function.

    I hope your neurologist dials things in for you so that you can be as comfortable as possible and get back to doing things with the family and feeling like a member of the human race once again.

    Best wishes

    "C"
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  • I just put a call into my NS to see if there is any way I can take the Gapaptenin differently that may help with the dizzy side effects I have been getting so that I can feel normal at work.

    I am encouraged to see that "C" has not had an issue of weight gain on this medication, but there is so many, many who say it does cause weight gain and that concerns me. What is it about the medication that causes the weight gain, the increased appetite? or the metabolic change?

    I have noticed a decrease in my pain, so I do believe this medication can be very useful is treating my symptoms and hopefully get me active again.

    How does the SCS work? My follow up visit to actually see the NS is a few weeks away. I really would like to find a successful treatment so that I could be pain free and not have to count on pain meds.

    I still wonder why my orthopedic surgeon didn't tell me I had permanent nerve damage, instead of trying the injections and telling me that there was really no reason for my leg pain.

    As long as I can go trick or treating with my children this weekend I will be happy!

    "C" - I am really encouraged that you stay active, keep things in perspective and manage with the pain and the meds.

    I just got the call back from my NS while typing this letter, his recommendation is for me to cut back to one pill 100mg at bedtime and see if it reduces the dizzy feeling I have, so I will try that.

    Kind regards,
    Sandra
  • I can only respond regarding Lyrica, which is a similar med, but it was definitely an appetite issue, not some sort of gaining weight out of air issue. I could seriously sit down and eat a whole meal at Claim Jumper and still want dessert, it was crazy!

    So if you were to log your calories, you should be able to counteract it.
  • have a similar story, where I was told I was fine until the EMG where the docs all changed how they treated me dramatically. Sad eyes.....

    I cannot tolerate any of the nerve meds - I am one who becomes completely incapacitated. I was immediately given 2 options and 2 options only - SCS (spinal cord stimulation) and implanted pain pump. I went with the SCS to start and have been very lucky in how much it has helped. Should it stop working, I will move on the implanted pain pump.

    Did your doc no mention the SCS or implanted pain pump? Maybe they don't if you respond and can take the nerve meds?

    Good luck to you = that 24/7 burning/searing pain with no break is not fun.

    Cheri
  • Hi Sandra,

    First, I'm sorry to hear that you're faced with permanent nerve damage, however that came about. Do keep courage, though, because new advances are always being made and the medications we are using today may be obsolete in a few years and something better may take their place--we can always hope!

    I'm on Lyrica and was told I should see almost immediate results, which I did. I noticed that you were questioning the length of time until you got relief with the Neurontin. I don't know, it may be a different enough medication to not be related to Lyrica in that regard, but it seems like you should see results fairly soon, if you're taking enough, but you may know that already by now.

    Also, the dizziness and loopy feeling (as I put it) do go away if you can just work through them. It may take a few days but once you've become accustomed to the drug it no longer affects you like that (I'm speaking for Lyrica and assuming gabapentin would do the same). I hope you can get past the side effects because these medications do have the potential to give you significant relief, if your pain is the kind that can be relieved by nerve medications. I can't speak to the SCS but there are numerous members here who will fill you in on that technology. My best to you--keep posting--allow us to share a little of your burden by being good listeners, if nothing else. :)
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • I have taken both Lyrica and Gabapentin. I had horrible side effects on the lyrica and weight gain. I am now taking the Gabapentin and have had not trouble with weight gain. It MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE! However, made me very loopy and it did not go away. Felt like I was forgetting things all the time. BUT it was worth it for the pain relief. I recently stopped taking it and am sick as a dog so don't stop cold turkey!


    Angela
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