Had MRI and was put on Pregabalin, Seems its degenerative arthritis in the neck

OK, another update. I had my MRI last week. I was doing a lot of gardening and it helped a lot with the pain during the day. however at night in bed and sitting is terrible as my arms were getting pins and needles. Even writing this is terrible. The good thing is the gnawing pain in the left shoulder is gone. However the pins and needles in the right arm are making things very difficult. feels like the arm is completely numb, heavy and just plain painful.

The result from the MRI are that I have a degenerative process in the neck vertebrates between 4 and 6. There are 7 vertebrates between head (1) and shoulder (7). The nerves are trapped and that is creating the problem. There is more wear and tear than expected at my age and the rheumy said its because of a degenerative arthritis process.

So he has put me on these tablets: Pregabalin 50mg made by Pfizer. I must say that I am not impressed with the side effects for this drug which is a pain killer. I am also not impressed with this drug in case one needs to stop taking it. Also the cost is crazy. I paid £70 for 56 tablets. He said I should take these for a couple of months and then also get Physiotherapy. That supposedly will help with my pain and neck problem. He said an operation would only be done if the pain is very bad.

I do not understand how some pain killers and some physiotherapy will solve the problem of the nerves being pinched in the neck vertebrates without some direct intervention?

Anyone else had something like this? What about the drug?

15 Replies

  • Pregabalin is not a straight forward pain killer it is actually used for neuropathic pain, so works on the nerve endings. In larger doses it is used for epilepsy (crazy how drugs work with different conditions!)

    It needs to build up in the system & hopefully the side effects will diminish.

    I couldn't take it as I couldn't cope with the side effects of a foggy brain & feeling wrecked. I'm now on Amitriptyline which is similar ie working on the nerve endings. I'm not sure why you are paying for them unless you're not in the UK?

    Are you recently diagnosed? I think many of us are unable to do the tasks we'd like to do ie gardening because of the result of the activity causing so much pain & discomfort. It's a case of learning to pace yourself which is not an easy task when you have been used to being so active!

  • Same here Pauline. I've just started them again. The nerve pain got to a point where I thought I'd give them another try but the foggy brain is back so I won't be continuing.

    I have been advised that gabapentin may suit me better so I'll chat to my GP about it.


  • Hello

    Pregabalin is an antidepressant, one of its contraindications is the suppression of nuro pain , that you are suffering from in your arm and neck.

    You will most probably need pain medications like Paracetamol or something similar. a further medication that will

    treat the swelling and is an NSID medication your GP will be able to give prescriptions for all.

    I understand you are paying for your medication, are you from abroad, these tablets are available with a NHS script

    All the best


  • Hi, my husband had something similar but at the bottom of his spine. He was in severe pain and was sent to a pain clinic. they also prescribed amytriptiline as they thought it was nerve pain. It worked really well. He takes them just at night before bed and is so much better. I, too, cannot understand why you are having to pay for your medication, unless you live abroad. Hope this is of help.

  • Hi Breadfruit I was prescribed pregablin for sciatica and restless leg syndrome.I found them excellent much better than gabapentin which I had used before.The only side effect I experienced was fluid retention particularly in fingers but I found that a small price to pay for such a good painkiller.My GP said they wouldn't untrap the nerve but woulf help block the nerve pain and they did . eventually I had surgery but still use pregablin for residue pain

  • I have cervical spondylosis, only 32 when it was diagnosed. I was hospitalised because of the trapped nerve.. was in for a week, flat on back with traction of 15lbs to stretch the neck and free the nerve. My xray showed the vertebrae was a wedge shape, so obviously the arthritis was attack7ng me ling before the diagnosis. Still have pain with it, but have got used to it, plus limited neck movement.

  • Hi can you please explain to me why you have to pay £70 for your meds, I see you are in UK., do we have to pay extra for different meds.?

  • Thanks for the replies. I am in the UK and have limited BUPA cover. As the pain was so bad and the GP was only going to give me painkillers, I decided that I want a better and quicker diagnosis. So went to see a reumy privately. He then diagnosed a trapped nerve but wanted to do an MRI which I also wanted. BUPA will pay for the MRI, but I have to pay £250 towards it. The MRI was £500 and all they did was the neck area. I then went to see the reumy again to discuss the MRI. He then prescribed Pregabalin for me and Physiotherapy. I called BUPA again and they will not pay for both. Only after a night as an inpatient will they pay. I am still waiting on the bill from the private rheumy as a visit is anything from £175 to £250. So I will have to pay anything from £600 up to £750 for the pleasure of visiting a specialist privately. If I had not changed my health policy last year due to reduced income it would have paid for everything. But my policy increased every year even though I did not use it from £80 per month to £140 per month. So I changed it. In hindsight I wished I did not do that, as even though I am now paying "only" £55 per month it in effect only covers me if I end up in hospital. Very annoying.

    So I went to a number of Pharmacies. I was quoted £98 at one at my local GP center. So I went to the receptionist and wanted to get a prescription from my GP. But she denied it, saying because I went private I jumped the queue and they would not give me an NHS prescription. So I went home and booked an appointment with one of my GP's at my health centre. But it is not until next week, so I bit the bullet to pay out of my own pocket at my local Supermarket Pharmacy. I may have gotten it cheaper maybe somewhere else. But driving around or calling all my local pharmacies was just not an option and I wanted the tablets and not wait for over a week. That woman was so aggressive about the fact that I went private. Hope the GP will prescribe the next lot of pills and he needs to arrange for physiotherapy for me too. I cannot afford to pay for that as well, especially if no money is coming in. I am already dipping into my limited savings that were allocated for our holiday next year.

    I am a female gardener. I cannot work properly due to the pain. If I don't work I do not get paid. I cannot afford to sit around doing nothing. This winter was terrible and I had hardly any income coming in and just when the season starts I get hit by the neck and shoulder pain. Therefore I went private as I cannot wait months for an appointment to see a specialist. But I get penalized for doing so it seems. What a crazy world.

    I have been pottering around in my garden. My main problem is I cannot lift anything over 20 KG and I cannot cut hedges or prune anything higher than my shoulders as I cannot reach with my left shoulder. Now that the pain has moved to my other side as well I am even more handicapped. Since my customers are mostly elderly people who cannot do anything themselves I have to be fit.

    Since I cannot sit much I prefer to be outside. Even driving is difficult. I am looking to buy a new used van and this time it needs to be an automatic, I just cannot handle all this gear changing with my left arm. Hubby said not to bother as I may never work again. But that is just not an option. I would not know what else I could do, and I like working for myself. I am not much of a team player as I like my own company too much. I do not even interact much with my customers. I have my Ipod and my tools and just get on with it.

    But on a side note I have now taken my third tablet and so far so good. I felt a bit woolly in my head this morning when I woke up but it then went. My mouth is a bit dry. But they seem to work as I can actually type on my computer and sit without much pain. I am not driving for 2 days to see how my body reacts to the pills.

    I am not sure if I should also take Ibuprofen to help with any swelling or inflammation. The doc did not say anything about that. So I take one just before going to bed to help with the sleep. I will ask the GP when I see him.

  • What a tale. How awful for you to get such an attitude from that receptionist. I think I would mention her attitude to your GP as she will give the practise a bad name. As long as you have no bad kidneys or gastric ulcer no contraindications for taking Pregabalin and ibuprofen together. Glad your beginning to get some pain relief.

  • I'd agree about the receptionist - she has not authority to make such a judgement!

    I have seen my rheumy privately in the past & he has written to the GP requesting the drug which I have then got on the NHS, so hopefully your GP will do the same.

  • Whenever I or anyone in my family have used Bupa and need medication, the consultant usually just notifies our GP and tells him what he wants prescribed and then we get the medication from our normal GP surgery. I don't understand why your doctor didn't do this. Clemmie

  • My Neuro surgeon said he will operate when the pain becomes too bad, he admitted has operated on people with less damage but they weren't as mobile, he feels i am coping with the pain very well despite the damage, which is true., as I am doing specific exercises targeted to release the nerves. I have the same problem as you but in two places Cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back)however, he suggested as spine has extensive damage due to arthritis and the ongoing degenerative effect on the spine that i get treated on DMARDS first to help prevent further deterioration before operating. In the interim he recommended root nerve injections under a CTscan, for pain. i am saving this for when it is really needed . Perhaps your Doctor is of the same opinion but omitted

    to explain the reasoning. The main thing is to watch out if you cant relieve the numbness...get medical help quickly as that means the bloody supply has been cut ..def take a NSAID for the inflammation, huge help

  • @ Whyme2

    I get numbness and pins and needles when I sit down and especially after a nights sleep. My hands feel very cold and the pain is immense and I have to get up. I though that the blood supply is cut as why would my hands be ice cold.

    So far I am coping well with Pregabalin. In fact so well I am amazed. However I do not feel any different regarding the pain, with or without taking the tablets.

  • Hi there

    I had reservations about pregabalin at the start. I was lucky and did'nt have much of a problem with side effects. I am now up to 150mg twice daily, due to problems with nerve compression C2/3 & C3/4. This is the best I have been for almost six years. My mobility is better although it still hurts to do any walking. We all respond differently to physio so good luck with yours.

  • It seems that the pain in the arms is getting worse with the pins and needles. Its impacting me a lot. Also my knee goes at least once a day. When I walk or want to do something the right knee just goes. Also I have a pinched feeling below the shoulder blades and what feels like a bulge on my lower spine (mid waist area). I feel like I am falling apart with all these aches and pains.

    Went to see the GP. He took me off the Pregabalin and onto Amitriptyline 10mg. Only took that for 2 days and stopped and put myself back on Pregabalin. The side effects were bad, messing with my head big time, and bad rash, worse than it is already. I went for a blood test and hope to hear about it next week. The GP is also going to sort out the Physiotherapy for me. So off to see the GP again next week.

    The Amitriptyline is also an antidepressant. I cannot see how that will work against the pain. I will ask if they can increase the dose of the Pregabalin. The pins and needles in the arms need to stop. I cannot do anything, work or clean house, drive, cook. Everything is a struggle.

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