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Effective pain medication for neuroforaminal stenosis?

Started by Robert Miller on 08/28/2011 12:52am

Hi all,

Could someone please recommed a medication which is effective in mitigating intense radicular arm burning pain?

In particular, I experience intermittent daily periods of intense burning pain, ache, pins and needles, and numbness which is felt on both arms (mostly right arm) down to forearms and extending to middle finger.

Two weeks ago, I had received a cervical transforaminal epidural (cortisone) injection, however, this has had no affect in improving my intense burning arm pain.

A recent MRI scan confirmed that I have moderate cervical neuroforaminal stenosis (C6/C7 vertebral section).

Any advice or recommendations would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

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13 Responses


Hi robert, welcome to all us chronic spinal pain sufferers,I am a nurse that specialized in orthopedics and had my surgery in march,5 herniated discs , spinal stenosis,DDD, Failed back surgery syndrome, U can review my story and reccomendations at my site w my name on it. choose the one with many replies, for the other two were done incorrectly bcause i was new to site and didnt know how to put in my posting, I also am new here , only one week. U can leave me any questions at my site, as I am willing to help answer or guide u if I can, visit other peoples testimonials as we all have suggestions, Good luck on your journey to getting better, I wish u well. RENE :)


i don t think that any one med alone will work.... finding the right combo of meds varies per person, as it depends on what other spinal issues you might have along with the stenosis..
however, i have basically the same type stenosis at c3/4, tried one epi with no relief...
what i have found that helps most is the LIDODERM pain patch, it contains lidocaine... they are a bit expensive (cost me $30 per box of 30 patches), but due to the size of the patch, using them on the neck, you can cut a patch in half or in strips, and make a box last longer.. the bad thing is, you can only use whatever size piece on the area for 12 hours out of 24. normally my neck pain is the worst in the evening and overnite.. so i use mine mostly then... a TENS unit works for me too....
your dr may be able to give you some samples of the lidoderm patch to try before paying for a script of them... another topical i recommend is the VOLTAREN gel, it has anti-inflammatory in it and it dont take much at a time, rub it in good and get relief pretty fast... that is the only thing that helps my foot pain shy of a good dose of oral pain med that pretty much knocks me out... dr can also give you samples of that.. but usually it is the pain drs that have these...both of these are brand, no generic available. my insurance copay-- the voltaren one tube cost me $28 and the dr decided to write script for 2 tubes per fill and that only cost me $2 more for the second tube.. so that is how he now writes that.... i have to wonder if 2 boxes of lidoderm patches would work like that and be cheaper, but you don t know til you fill the first time.....


Hi SunnyD,

I was prescribed Neurontin by my GP and it was also recommended by my Neurosurgeon. However, and after detailed research, I decided not to take this or any other anticonvulsant drugs given they are primarily indicated for persons with epilepsy/seizures.

Your recommendations sound like they have assisted you in reducing your nerve pain.

PS: I will look into getting a script of those patches, the general consensus about their effectiveness sounds quite good.

Keep in touch, bye for now.


i too have neurontin, 2 difference dosage levels, as the stronger makes me extremely dizzy so that is at bedtime... it does help me with peripheral neuropathy and radicular neuropathy caused by stenosis (as well as other nerve damage i have ), but for me, it has not helped with the neck pain at all... yes, it was primarily approved for seizures, but later approved to treat nerve pain of various types...
it is just like some doctors prescribe different forms of anti-depressants for pain and other things, and they have been approved by the fda for such....
that said, the neurotin may have with the pain in your arms etc, but not your neck...

like i say, when dealing when spinal conditions, especially when you have more than one issue, it takes a combination of medications to work... when you have been dealing with a multitude of spinal issues as well as other issues as long as i have (over 6 yrs now), you learn which type of med is going to help what... for example for me: burning w/pain is inflammation, so an anti-inflammatory med is going to work best... muscle pain and cramping, the muscle relaxer works best... and just hurts like hades without burning or muscle pain/cramping requires pure out pain med...


Yes, Neurontin is certainly intended as a secondary indication for treating neuropathic pain. However, I had decided not to take it due to unwanted side affects. My youngest daughter is currently on and has tried various anti-epileptic drugs, though, she doesn't have a choice as she has severe epilepsy with generalized tonic seizures.

I guess that if the benefits outweigh the risks, then, any drug is worth a try (expecially if there are no other viable oiptions). Can you tell me a little more about your experience with Neurontin?...is 300mg x 3 tablets per day enough to assist your nerve pain? 20 x 300mg tablets retail for $94.00 here in Australia as they are not covered by the Government subsidy if used for neuropathic pain indication. Persons with epilepsy can get the drug reduced for around $30.00 though.

Today, I have located a compounding chemist who can, upon a script from my doctor, prepare a specific topical formula to help treat my intense neuropathic arm pain. Apparently, the side affects from using a cream/ointment are much less when compared to the oral options. The formulation contains similar ingredients to the oral drugs (I.e. Gabapentin; Ketamine; Clonidine; lipoderm; ketoprofen; and lignocaine). I will pick up this script tomorrow and will let you know if it works?

Have you ever tried Neuragen PN product? Although non prescription, a lot of people seem to commend it for it's effectiveness.

Your PT sounds very sincere and is certainly worth holding onto. I hope that you can obtain a traction unit for home use, I think that would be great!!

I will be seeing my PT tomorrow, so, I will ask her about the potential affect of a traction unit on my lower spine.


Hi Sunny,

I had asked my PT about the potential impact that cervical traction could have on my lower spine (i.e. TLIF at L5/S1) and she said she will ask the neurosurgeon if he has any concerns or restrictions with having cervical traction.

For my nerve pain, I am going to try Tramadol 50mg as I had previously had this medication for the post surgery pain (without any side affects).


hi robert.... no i have never even heard of neuragen PN...
as for my experience with neurontin... it does not seem to help with my neck pain at all, but then i have multiple issues with my neck..not only do i have the 2 diff types of stenosis, i have a herniated disc which is herniated to both sides, i have ddd, degenerative facet arthropathy, and more going on.. so one med is not going to stop the pain...
i take neurontin mainly for my peripheral neuropathy in lower extremities, which it works rather well for and it also helps with the neuropathy in my arms and hands caused by the disc herniation etc...
i take 200 mg 2x day (during daytime) and 300 mg at bedtime of neurontin.. dr tried me on 300 mg 2x a day, and my system can not handle 300 mg.. it makes me extremely dizzy, actually i cant even get up without falling down, so this is why i only take 300 at bedtime... that said, i wonder and have questioned the dr if neurontin is the right med for me.. i have been on these dosages for well over a year and still have the dizziness to the same extent if i take night dosage and have to get up during the night, i have to wake hubby to help me to the restroom ....
my copay for the neurontin is $15 for 30 caps of 300 mg and another $15 for 120 caps of 100mg... i want to try the lyrica but my copay is $60 per month, and i already have one patch that cost me 60 per box of 30, one patch that cost me $30 per 30 and gel that cost me $30 for 2 tubes, plus all my other meds.. my total is up to over $200 a month for meds alone, plus dr copays..
i have just recently found a couple of rx discount cards online and found that 3 of my meds, i could get cheaper using the discount card INSTEAD of filing on insurance.. i would only be saving about $20 a month, but hey, every little bit helps....
i wish i could use herbal/holistic remedies, but many of them used with scripts can cause more health problems... i got enough of those... keep us posted on how you are doing and such...


Hi SunnyD,

I must say that, you certainly allocate quite a bit for your monthly medication needs....the drug manufacturer's would absolutely adore you!...ha, ha!!

After getting a scipt for Tramadol, I took one tablet last night and it appeared to take the edge off my intense neuropathic arm pain (i.e. approx 20% reduction of radicular burning pain).

With the natural product that I have ordered, you can find out more information about Neuragen PN at www.neuragen.com It is a universal ointment that is specifically formulated for nerve pain and they claim that approx 80% of people experience nerve pain reduction. As I cannot purchase the product here in Australia, I have ordered the product from a supplier in the USA and it should arrive sometime next week.

It was interesting (on a negative note) to hear that you experience intense headaches as well as falling whilst using Neurontin. Since you have unpleasant side affects, I would pursue your gut feeling and insist that your doctor prescribes you another drug (I.e. Lyrica; Amitriptyline; or Venlafaxine; etc).

I am very keen to try the Neuragen PN (Natural) product when it arrives. I will let you know how effective it is for me?

On another note, have you ever tried a cervical foraminal epidural (cortisone) injection? I had one approx 4 weeks ago with no pain reduction benefit at all ($895.00 up front fee- $250 after Australian public Medicare rebate).

Kind regards,



Hi SunnyD,

Just letting you know that I tried Neuragen PN topical (natural) ointment for neuropathic pain, though, it only seemed to reduce about 5-10% of my intense arm nerve pain when used.

Do you have any news to report on your treatments?


Hi SunnyD,

How are you going? I have not heard from you for a while?


hello rob,
not sure your on anymore.
hard guy to find on here.
well i'm into my sixth month from my L5 fusion.
all is going very well.
no more pain.
doc will let me go back to working at the end of march here.
started yoga and he wants me to strenthen my core as much as i can.
all and all everything is good here now.
thank god.
hope things are going well for you.
i know what you went threw.
god bless you.


Hi Ray,

It's great to hear that you are progressing very well. I am now at 7 months post op and feeling great without any negative repercussions.

As for actively participating with this forum, I don't seem to have the same degree of time when compared to my 3 months post op rehabilitation period.

Do you get the opportunity to undertake some hydrotherapy sessions? Bye for now.

Kind regards, Robert.


Hey rob
No I haven't had to do any theripy after my fusion.
I just have been doing so well it's like I was never sick.
I'm in the middle of my 6th month post op.
We had our surgeries very close to the same time.
Yes you went first.
Yes seems like the better you get the less time you have to write new posts like we did when we were sick.
I try to help as many as I can on here.
I know I had no answers when I started.
But with allot of research I over came the fears.
If you could rob when you get a chance.
On the cummunity advice page here you can start a new posting.
Please put up that you have had a successful fusion.
Write something to help incurage others.
There are to many posting of bad surgeries on here.
Maybe it might help others seeking help.
Thank you rob.
Best wishes to you.
God bless you.
I'll still pray for you in hopes you stay well.