Pain can be defined as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage.
Neck pain is one of the most common kinds of pain and is usually caused by poor posture, which can lead to strain of muscles and ligaments supporting the neck. Neck pain can be acute or chronic, depending on the duration of the symptoms, and is defined as chronic when symptoms are present for more than 3 months.
Gabapentin is classified as an antiepileptic drug, but it also works as muscle relaxant and is effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
Gabapentin for the treatment of Neuropathic Neck Pain
Gabapentin can be effective in the treatment of neuropathic neck pain. Neuropathic pain is a type of pain caused by an injury of the somatosensory system, which includes neurons in the brain and spine and peripheral nerves. It can have different etiologies: spine injury, metabolic disorders (e.g. diabetes), infections, toxins, etc. This kind of pain occurs spontaneously (without stimulation) and is typically described as burning, shooting, stabbing, tingling feeling.
Causes of Neck pain:
- Compression of nerves: results from damage or injury to the nerve due to compression, which occurs due to repetitive strain/injury.
- Post herpetic neuralgia: Shingles can get complicated with post herpetic neuralgia, which presents as chronic pain due to damage of nerve fibers caused by shingles infection
- Poor posture: Incorrect posture of the neck can cause muscle strain and neck pain.
- Sleeping in a particular position: sleeping with your head at a bad angle can lead to neck pain & stiffness.
- Trauma: any fall or direct trauma to the head or neck causes pain and can also damage nerves leading to neuropathic pain.
- Cervical degenerative disease: degeneration of cervical disk can cause neck pain
- Cervical Osteoarthritis: age-related wear and tear of the cervical spine often results in pain.
- Spinal tumor: Any tumor could develop in the cervical spine and damage tissues or compress nerves causing pain.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when one vertebra slips over the one below it. It can be due to a tiny fracture in the vertebra, ligament laxity, or possibly from advanced disc degeneration
How Gabapentin Helps In Neck pain?
Gabapentin (Neurontin) is a drug which belongs to the anticonvulsant class of medicines. Not only can it be used to treat seizures, but it’s also effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain. It is a first-line medication for the treatment of neuropathic pain in patients suffering from diabetic neuropathy and post herpetic neuralgia.
What Is The Dosage Of Gabapentin To Heal Neck Pain?
- 300 mg orally on day one,
- 300 mg orally 2 times day on day two,
- then 300 mg orally 3 times a day on day three
- Gradually titrate up as needed for pain relief
- Maximum dose: 3600 mg per day
Patients have to follow the doctor’s instructions about dosage. In particular patients with renal failure will require a dose adjustment depending on the renal function.
What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin?
Using Gabapentin some side effects may occur, the most common are:
- tiredness or weakness
- nausea, vomiting
- dry mouth
- Gabapentin cause constipation
- increased appetite
- Gabapentin cause weight gain
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or legs
- runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, or flu-like symptoms
- ear infections
Some side effects may be serious:
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes
- difficulty breathing;
What Other Medicines Can Be Used For Neck Pain?
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Muscle Relaxants.
Gabapentin is an effective treatment of neck pain, especially when this has a neuropathic etiology. It is safe to be used in the above mentioned dose. Gabapentin has to be taken appropriately as per physician’s advice.
Moretti, R., Antonello, R.M., Torre, P. and Cazzato, G., 2000. Headache and neck pain: Gabapentin as a possible treatment. From https://doi.org/10.1007/s101940070037 Accessed on 14 August 2022.
Sist, T.C., Filadora II, V.A., Miner, M. and Lema, M., 1997. Experience with gabapentin for neuropathic pain in the head and neck: report of ten cases. From https://doi.org/10.1016/S1098-7339(97)80037-5 Accessed on 13 August 2022.