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neurontin effectiveness for pain management

My pain management dr has put me on Neurontin to help with thoracic back pain, I have herniated discs that basically are not going to be fixed, no doctor wants to touch it. My question is how is this drug for long term treatment of severe pain, he also has me on Norco but I am hesitant to take because of addiction potential. If anyone has any input please let me know.
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7721494 tn?1431627964
BetterGetBetter has provided good advice, and you'd be wise to research the medications you're prescribed.

Let me help you with these two, which are quite common for the treatment of chronic pain.

Neurontin (gabapentin) is effective against "neuropathic pain" which is the pain of prolapsed disc material compressing your spinal cord and nerve roots. However, it will do little for much of the referred pain and muscular pain you feel from your chronic thoracic disc disease.

Hydrocodone (in Norco) is an opioid analgesic, and works in the brain, lowering your perception of the pain. It will help attenuate some of the non-neuropathic pain you're feeling.

So you see, each pain syndrome has multiple origins, and each medication has a specific use in fighting pain. Neurontin will not do the job of an opioid analgesic, and opiates are miminally effective against the neuropathic pain you experience.

I understand why some people are reluctant to use opioid analgesics -- they cause dependence, and lead to increased use through opioid tolerance.

And in approximately 10% of the population, opioid medications can cause addition symptoms. Addiction is a psychological disease that can negatively effect one's life. One avoids addiction behavior by taking medication as directed, and using this medication only for the treatment of pain.

It's your choice, but you should know the facts and act, not from fear, but from knowledge.

Best wishes.
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Here's a short, interesting page I found for you:

Whenever I've been prescribed a new medication, I always google it, using search terms like

Neurontin experiences
Neurontin problems
Neurontin helped me
Neurontin alternatives

Then I sift through the results, and, almost always, I find that half the responses indicate it's a life-saver, a "wonder drug." The other half of the responses are people cursing the existance of such a medication :-)

The bottom line is that the only way to know how it will affect *you* long term, is to try it and see. For whatever reason, your pain management doctor has selected that one for you.

This is not "advice," rather, this is what I would do if I were you: I would agree with you that the Norco should be put towards the back of your medicine cabinet -- only to be used when the pain is overwhelming, if the Neurontin doesn't work. Although some people can "manage" narcotics just fine (e.g. "I take it a couple times a month, when I get a severe flareup"), other people find it to be so addictive they can't stop themselves from using it, and curse the day they took their first pill!

So, again, this is not advice, but if it were me, what I would do is try the Neurontin all by itself for 2 reasons:

1.) If you took both the Neurontin and Norco, you won't know which one is really helping, which one is "doing the heavy lifting" (no pun intended). By taking only the Neurontin, you'll know exactly what side effects it has, as well as exactly how much it is helping.

2.) If the Neurontin helps you, you don't have to worry about the Norco. If you don't take the Norco, you don't have to worry about getting addicted to it.

Remember that in Pain Management, the goal is not to completely eradicate your pain. Rather, it is to "manage" the pain. "Managing" pain means that if your pain level without medication is, let's say... "7" on a scale of 1 to 10, then to reduce it to a "4" would be a success! Don't expect to make it go from a "7" to a "0." The only time pain is *completely* eradicated is in a hospital setting when they give you that shot that totally knocks you out (where you smile, then drool, then fall asleep). And, that kind of pain eradication will pretty much make you non-functional.

Also, one more thing... in the upper right hand corner of this forum is a little "Search" window. Type in "Neurontin" in that window and click the button and you'll see lots and lots of posts about the pros and cons of it.

I sure hope it helps you!

And, if you have bad side effects, call your doctor right away. And, if it doesn't seem to help, be sure to give it a couple weeks, let your body get used to it. You might find it doesn't help right away (tomorrow you might not feel better), but then after a few days or a week or two, you'll be out doing activities and it will dawn on you "Oh, I forgot about my pain," and that is what you want.

Good luck!
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