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Old 11-08-2012, 05:25 AM   #1
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Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Hello all, my first post here after reading almost every post I could on Neuropathy. I recently had a fusion at L5/S1, from the front and back. Eight weeks ago to be exact. About a week after the surgery I started having extreme pain down my ham string, into my calf, and down into my foot. The most horrible pain I ever thought possible. I told my wife at one point I'd cut off the leg if the pain would go away. I don't think I slept for at least 4-5 days. I'm taking Hydrocodone 20/325 1 every 6 hours, Zanaflex 1 every 6 hours, and Gabapentin 2 300mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Until about a week ago I was only taking 1 300 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Most of the pain has gone away, except for the extreme tingling in my toes and upper part of the right foot. The foot is swollen all the time, and I use ice often every day. I need to be walking more, but with the swelling and pain I can barely put on a shoe. Even the covers in bed touching any part of the foot can almost cause me to jump out of bed. What I'm starting to wonder is, if Gabapentin could possibly be causing mor swelling. This morning when I got up the normal pain was there. At 3:00 AM I took the regular dose of Zanaflex and as usual no changes. At 4:00 AM I took the Hydrocodone, and didn't notice any obvious change. At 5:00 AM I took the normal 2x300 Gabapentin. A little later I noticed the foot starting to swell and the tingling getting worse. I normally just write it off as just getting worse as the day goes on, with nights being the worse, and mornings being the least pain, but I started thinking, maybe the dose of Gabapentin could actually be causing the swelling? I know it is tolerated well in most people, and a very good Neuropathy medicine, but could it be possible that it could actually be casuing some swelling? I'm thinking of cutting the dosage back to 1 300mg every 8 hours instead of 2 to see if it changes.

 
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:27 AM   #2
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OuchFactor HB User
Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich12 View Post
Hello all, my first post here after reading almost every post I could on Neuropathy. I recently had a fusion at L5/S1, from the front and back. Eight weeks ago to be exact. About a week after the surgery I started having extreme pain down my ham string, into my calf, and down into my foot. The most horrible pain I ever thought possible. I told my wife at one point I'd cut off the leg if the pain would go away. I don't think I slept for at least 4-5 days. I'm taking Hydrocodone 20/325 1 every 6 hours, Zanaflex 1 every 6 hours, and Gabapentin 2 300mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Until about a week ago I was only taking 1 300 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Most of the pain has gone away, except for the extreme tingling in my toes and upper part of the right foot. The foot is swollen all the time, and I use ice often every day. I need to be walking more, but with the swelling and pain I can barely put on a shoe. Even the covers in bed touching any part of the foot can almost cause me to jump out of bed. What I'm starting to wonder is, if Gabapentin could possibly be causing mor swelling. This morning when I got up the normal pain was there. At 3:00 AM I took the regular dose of Zanaflex and as usual no changes. At 4:00 AM I took the Hydrocodone, and didn't notice any obvious change. At 5:00 AM I took the normal 2x300 Gabapentin. A little later I noticed the foot starting to swell and the tingling getting worse. I normally just write it off as just getting worse as the day goes on, with nights being the worse, and mornings being the least pain, but I started thinking, maybe the dose of Gabapentin could actually be causing the swelling? I know it is tolerated well in most people, and a very good Neuropathy medicine, but could it be possible that it could actually be casuing some swelling? I'm thinking of cutting the dosage back to 1 300mg every 8 hours instead of 2 to see if it changes.

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:59 AM   #3
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Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Not a doctor. but if you look up side effects it looks like this can cause the swelling

 
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:27 AM   #4
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teteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB User
Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

You can usually find me on the Back board, but I happened to notice your post. Gabapentin/Lyrica definitely can cause swelling. Many people find they can take it at the lowest dosage, but as soon as it increases, so does the swelling.

You probably had that pain all along, but it just wasn't apparent until a week later. At the time of closing, a ton of antibiotics and steroids are used to bathe the surgical area. This keeps down chances for infection and provides some relief from swelling and pain in the early days. When it wears off a week to ten days later, the patient often experiences a "new" pain or an increase in pain.

It is very normal to have a flare of nerve pain. The nerves are often brutalized during surgery and it can take them many months to recover. Plus you no doubt had some nerve compression prior to surgery, so it may take up to a year for the nerve to regenerate/recover.

You need to be walking even if it is just back and forth in your home. Short, frequent walks are extremely important at this early stage as they keep the spinal nerves stretched out, which limits the chances for scar tissue to attach to these nerves as it is forming and filling in.

If you have access to a pool, it would be very beneficial to walk in the water...and maybe it would be less painful.

Call your surgeon, but I think you'll find that cutting back on the gabapentin will help with the swelling...but you may still have some. I know my right ankle was swollen for months after my lumbar fusion.
Good luck and don't get discouraged. Healing from fusion is a long, slow process....

 
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:48 AM   #5
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Rich12 HB User
Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

My Doctor just prescribed Cymbalta to aid in the nerve pain since Gabapentin doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot. I knew Gabapentin could cause swelling, but it is just in the one foot, not both so I wasn't sure. I'm thinking after a week or so, once the Cymbalta has had time to get in my system, I'll start cutting back on the Gabapentin. I do walk around the house quite often, and for the last couple of weeks have been doing the treadmill 2x a day for 15-20 minutes. It is frustrating because my back seems ok, and I feel I can walk farther, but my foot feels like it's on fire and extremely painful just after 15 minutes. Thanks for the input. That explains why I felt great for the first week.

 
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:21 PM   #6
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Unhappy Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich12 View Post
My Doctor just prescribed Cymbalta to aid in the nerve pain since Gabapentin doesn't seem to be doing a whole lot. I knew Gabapentin could cause swelling, but it is just in the one foot, not both so I wasn't sure. I'm thinking after a week or so, once the Cymbalta has had time to get in my system, I'll start cutting back on the Gabapentin. I do walk around the house quite often, and for the last couple of weeks have been doing the treadmill 2x a day for 15-20 minutes. It is frustrating because my back seems ok, and I feel I can walk farther, but my foot feels like it's on fire and extremely painful just after 15 minutes. Thanks for the input. That explains why I felt great for the first week.
Hi Rich, Hope your feeling ok! My neuro just gave me Cymbalta for my small nerve polyneuropathy. I was Dx with the skin punch biopsy, still no cause! Are you still taking Cymbalta? Do you have any side effects? I know your on it for a short time, but Im wondering how you feel, I am afraid to take it (Cymbalta) because of all the "horrible" side effects I read about. I may need it soon . The pain: pins and needles, buzzing, tingling in my arms, legs, hands and burning feet, now its in my face and lips, the pain is intolerable. I tried gabapentin, I only took 100mgs once a day for three days. I had to stop it was making me too Jittery! Any comments or input would be greatly appreciated.
Marie

 
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Old 11-20-2012, 02:46 AM   #7
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Rich12 HB User
Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by sconzette View Post
Hi Rich, Hope your feeling ok! My neuro just gave me Cymbalta for my small nerve polyneuropathy. I was Dx with the skin punch biopsy, still no cause! Are you still taking Cymbalta? Do you have any side effects? I know your on it for a short time, but Im wondering how you feel, I am afraid to take it (Cymbalta) because of all the "horrible" side effects I read about. I may need it soon . The pain: pins and needles, buzzing, tingling in my arms, legs, hands and burning feet, now its in my face and lips, the pain is intolerable. I tried gabapentin, I only took 100mgs once a day for three days. I had to stop it was making me too Jittery! Any comments or input would be greatly appreciated.
Marie
Hi Sconzette,
I've been taking the Cymbalta for about two weeks now, and I didn't see many side effects. I take 30mg 2x a day. The only thing I really noticed is that if I take it in the morning on any empty stomach it upsets my stomach right away. The only other thing I've noticed is that right after taking it I'm pretty alert, not jittery though, but after a few hours it makes me sleepy so I make sure I take it several hours before bedtime. I would at least try it, you may get lucky and not have those bad side effects. Everyone is different, and you may get lucky and get some relief. Maybe start at a small dosage and gradually increase. I've read about more positive results that bad ones. Good luck, and keep me posted how it does for you, I'd be interested how it works for you.

 
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:05 AM   #8
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arejaye HB User
Re: Gabapentin and Neuropathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich12 View Post
Hello all, my first post here after reading almost every post I could on Neuropathy. I recently had a fusion at L5/S1, from the front and back. Eight weeks ago to be exact. About a week after the surgery I started having extreme pain down my ham string, into my calf, and down into my foot. The most horrible pain I ever thought possible. I told my wife at one point I'd cut off the leg if the pain would go away. I don't think I slept for at least 4-5 days. I'm taking Hydrocodone 20/325 1 every 6 hours, Zanaflex 1 every 6 hours, and Gabapentin 2 300mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Until about a week ago I was only taking 1 300 mg Gabapentin every 8 hours. Most of the pain has gone away, except for the extreme tingling in my toes and upper part of the right foot. The foot is swollen all the time, and I use ice often every day. I need to be walking more, but with the swelling and pain I can barely put on a shoe. Even the covers in bed touching any part of the foot can almost cause me to jump out of bed. What I'm starting to wonder is, if Gabapentin could possibly be causing mor swelling. This morning when I got up the normal pain was there. At 3:00 AM I took the regular dose of Zanaflex and as usual no changes. At 4:00 AM I took the Hydrocodone, and didn't notice any obvious change. At 5:00 AM I took the normal 2x300 Gabapentin. A little later I noticed the foot starting to swell and the tingling getting worse. I normally just write it off as just getting worse as the day goes on, with nights being the worse, and mornings being the least pain, but I started thinking, maybe the dose of Gabapentin could actually be causing the swelling? I know it is tolerated well in most people, and a very good Neuropathy medicine, but could it be possible that it could actually be casuing some swelling? I'm thinking of cutting the dosage back to 1 300mg every 8 hours instead of 2 to see if it changes.
Rich, from what I've read about Gabapentin, it definitely can make your feet swell. Mine do, but I've also got edema(swelling in my legs and feet after cardiac surgery a year and a half ago.) I'm takin' 1800mg a day of that, and Oxycodone 10/325 one every 4 hours. It doesn't leave much time for sleep.
When my neuropathy first started my feet were so swollen that the skin on them started cracking open w/ slight bleeding. For whatever reason, the majority of swelling has gone, but not all by anymeans. Last year when it started getting cold, I knew I had to come up with something since I couldn't hardly go outside barefoot when it was cold, so for the first time in months of no shoes, I just had to bite the bullet and make myself put on socks and shoes. To my GREAT surprise, I found that after enduring the pain we all know too well from neuropathy when the affected skin is touched, when I finally got close enough to almost cry tryin' to pull socks over that burning skin, and then shoes on, it actually helped some, especially when I tied my shoes tight. That way, the shoe sorta stabilized the skin so it couldn't be rubbed, and kept it "safer" if that makes any sense. Now the ONLY shoes I wear, are steel toed boots, that way I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna step on a big piece of glass or a nail, not feel it, and bleed out since I'm on blood thinners for my cardiac stuff, or crush my toes and not know it. With my situation though, and I guess it's all different, the bottoms of my feet and toes are totally numb, which makes walking real fun. I look drunk all the time because I can't feel what my feet are touching, like...are they on the ground yet or not. I realized kinda quick that when the downward motion of my leg stopped, I was on something solid(hopefully) at least, and try another step. It ain't graceful, but I'm gettin' around. As for the pain part, it's just the tops of my feet, and now gradually makin' it's way up my left leg to about mid shin. I read the other day somewhere, that over time it can take over most of your body and in some cases be deadly. I wish I could find that site again, and try to get somebody to verify it. At anyrate, after reading your post, and having almost identical symptoms and meds, just thought I'd let ya know ur not alone, and just hang in there. If the govt can put enough funds together to send ppl to space, they can find a cure, because as anybody on this board knows, it ain't a fun thing to have and live with everyday, all day. I wish ya luck, and again, just try to hang in there the best ya can

Last edited by arejaye; 12-04-2012 at 12:37 PM. Reason: I left out a couple words

 
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