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Gabapentin anyone on it for disc bulges

edited 03/15/2015 - 9:40 PM in Lower Back Pain
I recently had an mri scan of my lumber spine, do to years of back problems. been sent for numerous exrays, but nothing ever showed up. i was lucky a locum doctor was in the surgery i managed to persuade him to send me for an mri scan.. well the results dont mean a lot to me. but i guess it shows the reason im suffering reocurring lower back problems.

AT L3-4 ther is a minor facet joint hypertrophy but ther is no significant disc prolapse. ther is no canal or foraminal stenosis at this level or any nerve root compression.

AT L4_5 ther is a broad posterior disc bulge with an associated annular tear. this does not cuase anysignificant canal stenosis, but the disc does just contact both trabsiting L5 nerve roots.

At L5-s1 ther is a broad posterior disc bulge and associated annular tear. again this does not cause significant canal stenosis but the disc contacts both transiting s1 nerve roots. no compression is seen however.

its all abit of a mouthful really. in short i want to know a couple of things. is disc bulge another word for herniated disc, or slipped disc. when my mum asks whats wrong with my back, i dont want to read the scan report out to her, what is wrong with my back in short.

and the other thing was has any one taken gabapentin for this sort of problem. im on day one of taking 300mg 3 times a day . i also take zapain for the pain. in the daytime. i can also take amytriptaline at night if needs be.

Ive never taken tablets for nerve pain befor. i just wounderd what peoples experiences of being on gabapentin were.

thanks sarah xx


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    welcome to spine-health

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    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 606
    I was on amitryptline first for my nerve pain. It didn't work for me & gave me side effects that I couldn't deal with. So my pain doctor put me on gabapentin. We started out on a low dose. I'm now taking 600mg 3x a day. Im starting to notice that it's not working as well, so I imagine my doctor will be increasing it again. It did kick my butt when I first started taking it! I was like a zombie! Once my body adjusted to it, I could function a little better on it. Make sure you take it at different intervals throughout the day so it stays in your system equally. Also, this is a med that you can't just abruptly stop. You must taper down on it.
    As far as the mri report, I can't help you out with that. Do you have a follow up appointment with your doctor? He will have to be the one to explain it to you.
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  • I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing you live in the UK and you are getting the cheapest method of treatment despite your clinical presentations.

    That L4-5 and L5-S1 bulge with annular tear is what I had 11/2 years ago, mine was on one level. Gabapentin and amitriptyline are two 'conservative' and nhs cheap methods of dealing with what could easily become a serious problem. They are indicated for neuropathic ( nervy ) pain and both gave me terrible side effects.

    I've been through the mill and finally got the right treatment through finding and hassling a very experienced and wise orthopaedic surgeon. My story is long and convoluted so I won't bore you with it here. However, Please get your GP to refer you to an ortho consultant.

    PM me if you do want the full story!

    Steve, London
    L5-S1 herniation. Both knee meniscus tear. L4-5 herniation - 2 x nerve block injections. L4-5 discectomy. L1-2 nerve block injection. L4-5 reherniation - TLIF fusion. 2016: L1-2 and L5-S1 retrolistheses and multiple facet joint degeneration.
  • Hi I had a disc bulge/prolapsed disc which caused chronic sciatic nerve pain down my left leg it was misery. Gabapentin helped me with this and i underwent a micro discectomy last may 2014 and they shaved the bulge and it took away all my nerve pain
  • MariaBMMariaB Posts: 5
    edited 03/23/2015 - 8:15 AM
    Hi Sassy, I have similar problems to you in my lumber spine and the same in my cervical spine. I'm allergic to all opiate drugs so can't take morphine or codeine. I've been through so many drugs and nearly accidentally overdosed on a few. Gabapentin is the one drug that eases things for me. The thing about Gabapentin is, you have to start on a small dose and very slowly build it up to the point where you find its really helping without making you feel like a zombie. My doctor started me on a very high dose of 2000mg and I couldn't get out of bed, couldn't remember words and was generally confused. I decided to come off it after just a few weeks but within one day I was this angry vile person who felt like jumping off a bridge. Gabapentin can be a seriously evil drug if you don't follow its very strict guidelines. When you do come off it, you do so by 100mg a day. I eventually got my dose down to 600mg and although some of the nerve pain came back, it was much more manageable. On this dose I'm neither sleepy or confused but I have to say, it does make me feel kind of chilled :)
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  • ColumbaCColumba Posts: 3
    edited 03/23/2015 - 12:36 PM
    I've been taking Gabapentin since January - I've got Grade 1 spondylolisthesis which impinges on the L5 nerve roots and all of my lumbar discs are posterior prolapsed. I was getting a lot of nerve pain in my leg and foot, which was waking me up several times a night. The Gabapentin really helped, but over the last couple of weeks the nerve pain has started to come back, I'm waiting to see the doctor to find out what's going to happen. I'm currently on 1200mg a day, I started at 300mg and worked up, I went to 1500mg, but that made me feel "odd", luckily I've been lucky with the side effects.
  • Tried this three times but had serious side effects with it darn it.
    So many have excellent help with it and as you know everyone is
    different. Give it a try you may be one of the lucky ones lets hope.
    Best wishes Sherri
  • I have been on it for a few weeks for similar issues in lumbar region. I can only tolerate this at night on a smaller dose(600MG) right now as it has hit me like a ton of bricks. I also take flexeril and have oxycodone for any breakout pain. I have noticed a difference in symptoms, does not get as servere until later than before, but whether it is the gabepentin or the epidural injections is unknown right now. I did gain probably ten pounds almost instantaneously, all in my belly which is annoying when you add in spacey feeling and being off with memory, plus lack of normal levels of exercise, its not helping the self esteem. From what I have researched so far, it looks like pretty much all the medicines that can help manage nerve pain come with some version of these side effects and at least now I can move enough to make it through the day working part time, so for now I will keep on keeping on.
  • I was on the same dose as you for a while but never helped, went unto 900mg 3 times a day and still did not help.
    Now on pregabalin and amytriptaline since the start of March and not seeing any benefits.
    I have disc bulge and tears in L4-L5 and L5-S1
    Discography is my next step then surgery.
    Without struggle there is no progress
  • DontGiveUpDDontGiveUp Posts: 1
    edited 03/25/2015 - 2:46 PM
    I had a lumbar spinal fusion on two lower levels of my back and currently have hardware in my back. I never had leg pain but after the surgery my left foot is now partially numb and hurts all the time. I tried Lyrica which did not help and than became too expensive anyway. I am currently taking Gabapentin, 600mg 3 times a day and it has not done anything at all to help me.
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