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Oh, My aching back!

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Unread 12-01-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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Default Oh, My aching back!

Hello. I broke my L5 vertebra and had an L5-S1 spinal fusion done in 1971. I was told to refrain from all activities that required lifting. My back, buttocks, and legs remained painful for several years after the surgery. I finally decieded to take up phsyical activities in addition to my walking routines. I began to row a small dory. In less than six months I was relatively pain free. I then began to lift free weights. I started with five pound dumbells. Within a year I had a one hour and twenty minute routine that I did on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each and every week until I was well into my forties. This included bench pressing my body weight 10 times. I have lead a very active outdoor life. I am now paying the price for all of the lifting. At the age of 65 I have serious back and leg pain (primarily the right leg). I also have constant, sometimes severe, pain in the left sacral joint. I had been treating the pain, after it occurrred, with opiates. I decieded to take a more proactive approach and had an MRI with contrast done. It revealed degenerated discs and arthritis in my spine above the L5-S1 fusion. I asked my physican to take me off of the opiates abd put me on something that would treat the pain more effectively. He prescribed gabapentin. I now take a 300 at 10AM, a 300 at4PM, and 600 at 10PM. 1200 a day total. I have been at this dosage level for several weeks. I am now able to sleep through the night most of the time. The daytime pain relief has been sigificant. Although I still can no longer life more than 10 pounds or so I am able to participate in Physical Therapy for the back. How long will I be able to get relief from the gabapentin? Do the dosages have to increased over time to maintain the level of pain relief? The "hangover" side effect stopped after about 2 weeks. Are there any other side effects of which I should be aware? I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has been on this medication. Thank you very much.
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Unread 12-01-2012, 07:37 PM   #2
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I gained ALOT of water weight with gabapentin. So watch your ankles & legs for water retention. If they start swelling, or if you see a ring around where the top of your socks are, you're holding water in your system.

Also, Gabapentin continued to make me feel "fuzzy headed & loopy" for a long time. I just couldn't keep taking it. So I did some research on other drugs like it, and found Topamax. I asked my doc if I could take that, and he okayed it, so I switched to that. I do NOT retain water, I'm on a MUCH lower dose than Gabapentin, and I don't feel loopy.

I only have to take a total of 400mg per day, and i've been at this dosage for quite some time. All the burning type pain is gone, as well as the zapping and any other electrical type pain that goes along with nerve-type damage. So I really like the Topamax.

I wish you the very best. Take care & keep us posted. God bless. Hugs, Lee
recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;severe depression; 2 open spinal surgeries; severe sciatica since 1986; epidurals; trigger points; myelograms; Rhizotomy; Racz procedure; spinal cord stimulator implant (and later removal); morphine pump trial (didn't work);now inoperable; lumpectomy; radiation; breast cancer survivor; heart attack; fibromyalgia; on disability.

Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live..
.................................................. ...............Orestes
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Unread 12-01-2012, 10:05 PM   #3
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Default Thanks.

Thank you for your input Lee.
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