Sciatica nerve pain due to scar tissue following back surgery - Cymbalta and sleeping problems

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John H28
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/25/2013 9:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I'm new to this site and this is my first post. I had back surgery for a ruptured L5 S1 last June. The surgery was successful, but according to the surgeon I developed scar tissue that is now pressing on my sciatic nerve causing chronic pain in my right rump, hip, and leg. It's not as bad as pre-surgery but still very debilitating. I tried Gabapentin, but at 300mg three times a day I developed terrible mouth sores. I also tried Lyrica, but had severe mouth/gum pain. It was so severe I couldn't eat solid food. My PM doc started me on Cymbalta 30mg for a week and then increased it to 60mg. It was like a wonder drug for the pain. I was dizzy for a while when I increased the dosage to 60mg, but that went away after a few days. My mood was also much better. However, after starting the 60mg, I've had a terrible time sleeping. It started like restless leg syndrome. I have an uncontrollable urge to move/kick my leg. Would go to bed at 10:30pm and would toss and turn until 2:30 - 3:00am. This would cause leg pain and I'd usually take a 5-325mg of hydrocodone-acetaminophin. Would finally fall asleep, but had trouble waking up to go to work after only 3-4 hours of sleep. PM doc had me start taking 300mg Gabapentin at bedtime. So far no mouth sores, and it helped a little with the restless leg, but didn't help me fall asleep. I tried Ambien. It made me very drowsy and I was excited about getting a good night sleep. Went to bed at 9pm, but could not fall asleep. I was still tossing and turning at 3am. I could not go to work the next day because I felt exhausted. I've not taken Ambien since. Once I've fallen asleep, after being in bed for hours, if I have to get up to go to the bathroom I am able to fall right back asleep. I don't know why I don't have restless problems then. My PM Doc had me reduce my Cymbalta to 30mg (take it in morning) and still take 300mg Gabapentin at bedtime. The Cymbalta still helps my mobility (less stiff) and pain during the day, but not as well as it worked at 60mg. With the increased pain, I think my mood has also dropped. I'm still having trouble falling asleep, but at least now I only toss and turn for 2 -2.5 hours before falling asleep. I really don't want to stop taking the Cymbalta because it has really helped my pain. As a matter of fact, I'd like to be able to go back to the 60mg dosage, but I have to be able to sleep. Spending hours every night trying to fall asleep is very frustrating. Has anyone else experienced this and did anything help? Appreciate any feedback. Thanks, John

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 2/26/2013 1:33 AM (GMT -7)   
When on the 60mg dose of Cymbalta did you try switching the time you took the med? Some people have better luck with it not hurting their sleep when taken in the morning and other when taken just before bed time. I have also heard of some people splitting the dose taking half in the AM and the rest at bed.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Blessedx8
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 2/26/2013 2:36 AM (GMT -7)   
John,

Welcome to HW and the CP forum.... glad you found your way here, but sorry for the issues you are dealing with....

I wish I had more suggestions for you.... but I have terrible insomnia, so I'm probably not the best one to ask about all of this :)

I can, however, confirm that lack of sleep makes everything worse: pain, mood, being able to function properly, just everything.

I, too, deal w/ painful sciatica. It's helped some by the Gabapentin (I'm on 1800mg daily)... but it doesn't take it away by any means. Cymbalta never worked for me - so can't help you there.... other than wondering the same thing that Jim asked - did you try taking the 60mg in the morning to see if that helped?

Hopefully, someone else will be along that will be more helpful than I've been! But I just wanted to take a moment to welcome you.... and I really do hope you can find something that works for your pain AND that you can get some sleep.

Take care --Tina
Moderator - Chronic Pain Forum

My faith and family sustain me - even on my worst days... as well as my wonderful friends here at HW.

Health/Pain Issues - too many to list; feel free to e-mail me or ask on the board. Thanks!

nvrthesame98
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5039
   Posted 2/26/2013 2:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi John and welcome to the forum for chronic pain. Many of us here are or have been on the neurontin and cymbalta as well as lyrica. I couldn't take any of them but lyrica,funny how we are so different.

You didn't say if your on any kind of other meds for pain and some things can cause the RLS when mixed. Are you on a muscle relaxer? Alot of us get better sleep using those at bedtime and there are several otc meds for RLS as well as some homeopathic meds sold at the pharmacy that might be worthwhile. Neither are expensive and I have seen several members who take homeopathic sleep aids.

I'm sure you're getting tired enough that it's messing with everything in your life and the strain will hinder healing too.

Hoping you will be able to find something that will help in the advice and direction those here are able to give.

It's what we do here,share experiences and knowledge of life as as Cper,compare notes,share the good days and bad,you pick what relates and leave the rest. Always remember we are not Drs even though some of us worked the medical profession it's the experience of living with chronic pain that we share here.

Glad you joined us. Good luck to you.

Vickie

Post Edited (nvrthesame98) : 2/26/2013 7:10:01 AM (GMT-7)


Retired Mom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1752
   Posted 2/26/2013 6:26 AM (GMT -7)   
I'd have to suggest good old melatonin. I have found it beats ambien by a mile for me and I took the ambien 20mg for years. I love that I can take 6mg and drop off to sleep pretty easily in most nights. Of course there are still a few that I don't sleep...mostly due to stress, but at least I sleep most nights now pretty well without the ambien nightmares and hangover..lol

Good luck!
Failed TLIF, Pituatary Disorder, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery, Failed Nissen, GERD, Anxiety, TMJ, Migraines, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia, Bilateral CTS, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendonitis,a host of other diagnoses, & a REALLY screwed up back from the top to the bottom!!!

nvrthesame98
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 5039
   Posted 2/26/2013 8:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Retired, its an OTC isnt it? Where do you buy it and is it very expensive?

Vickie

Jim1969
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 2/26/2013 9:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes you can buy melatonin OTC and it can be found at most pharmacies and in many health departments of places like Wal Mart. It is typically located either with the sleep aids or with the vitamins/supplements and no it is not that expensive. Last time I bought it the price was about the same as a bottle of lower cost multi vitamins.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

John H28
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/26/2013 12:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for the replies and suggestions. When on the Cymbalta 60mg, I usually took it in the morning. When I started having trouble with restless legs and insomnia I gradually increased the time of day that I took it (at lunch for a couple of days, then at dinner for a couple of days, then at bedtime). I couldn't tell any difference, so I went back to taking in the morning. Before taking Cymbalta, I had trouble falling asleep, but for different reasons. Then it was due to leg pain making me very uncomfortable. I could usually take a hydrocodone-acetaminophen 5-325, and while it didn't make the pain go away it would take the edge off enough to allow me to sleep. For me, the Cymbalta has worked wonders with my pain level and mobility. I'd like to return to 60mg if I could figure out how to get some sleep. Even at 30mg I'm still having trouble falling asleep. Once asleep, I can easily sleep for 7-8 hours, it's the falling asleep that is the problem for me. It is funny how we all react differently to different medicines. A lot of people react very well to OTC sleep aids, but I don't. If my wife takes a Benedril, she's out. For me it does just the opposite. I get revved up. Almost any antihistamine does the same thing to me. The Ambien made me feel very sleepy, but when I laid down, I couldn't fall asleep. I saw on another thread that some people on Cymbalta had luck taking Trazodone to help them sleep. I may ask my PM Doc about it. I'm missing another day of work today because of a bad night last night and quickly burning through my vacation days. I thought I was going in for a minor surgery for a ruptured disc, and even though they tell you that around 5% of people develop scar tissue that can cause post-op complications and pain, you never think you're going to be one of them. Reading these threads has made me aware of how many people there are with similar issues. Thanks again for your replies.
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