The Pain of Back Pain: Does Gabapentin Help?

Our society likes to take a pill and feel better. If only all pills could just make everyone feel better. Some drugs do, some don’t. Some relieve the pain while they harm other functions. Apple Country Chiropractic prides itself on its conservative, non-drug approach to back pain relief, but Apple Country Chiropractic also recognizes the role pain relievers can play in the overall treatment plan. Gabapentin is a neuropathic pain drug that Apple Country Chiropractic sees our Williamson patients taking more and more, so let’s take a look at gabapentin a little closer.


As with most pain interventions, research shares the good and the bad. Apple Country Chiropractic often hears the stories of the relief and stories of the continued pain. On the positive side of the neuropathic pain reliever, gabapentin, one set of researchers report it as good for pain due to a far lateral lumbar disc herniation. They found it to be “fast and effective.”  Visual analog scale scores (0 no pain to 10 most pain) were 9.3 (pre-treatment) dropping to 5 (day 1), 2.6 (day 7), and 1.3 (day 30), so they recommend gabapentin as the first-step medication for pain in patients with this specific disc herniation. They propose that the direct compression of the dorsal root ganglion nerve by this type of herniation is why this drug which is touted for nerve pain is such a reliever. (1) Apple Country Chiropractic hopes that any Williamson back pain patients who choose to try gabapentin would find relief, but some don’t.

So why gabapentin for back pain? Research reflects on the fact that back pain has a neuropathic component, that the nervous system is involved particularly when back pain turns chronic. The spinal nerves are affected. For low back pain, paracetamol and NSAIDs are often prescribed, but they don’t stop the neuropathic pain associated with affected spinal nerves. Therefore, neuropathic pain medications like gabapentin/pregabalin along with antidepressants are tried. The data on their effectiveness are limited. (2) One article about gabapentin just declared it “ineffective” for chronic low back pain with or without a radiating component, with or without leg pain sciatica. The researchers even state so boldly that “there are no controlled trials supporting this practice [of prescribing gabapentin for pain control of chronic low back pain].” (3) Apple Country Chiropractic certainly encourages our Williamson back pain patients to consult with their pain physician if they aren’t noticing any relief.

Some pain relieving drugs help patients get through “the worst” of the pain. They take the edge off of the pain. They may be the bridge that allows a back pain patient to stay on the conservative, non-surgical road to back pain relief. Apple Country Chiropractic understands that. So contact Apple Country Chiropractic. At your Williamson chiropractic examination, we’ll discuss all of your drugs and prior treatments and set a pain relieving treatment plan that includes spinal manipulation Cox Technic just for you.

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"This information and website content is not intended to diagnose, guarantee results, or recommend specific treatment or activity. It is designed to educate and inform only. Please consult your physician for a thorough examination leading to a diagnosis and well-planned treatment strategy. See more details on the DISCLAIMER page. Content is reviewed by Dr. James M. Cox I."