I was seeing a doctor as a last resort for terrible back pain. It felt like I had a knife stuck in my shoulder blade. I knew it was from my old, degenerating, arthritic spine and I was grasping at straws at that point. The doctor had little to offer except codeine, muscle relaxers, and a therapy program, the usual ineffective answers. But, he also threw something new into the mix, Gabapentin. Turned out, Gabapentin was a game-changer.

A billion people in the world suffer from chronic pain, based on an estimate that 100 million Americans who suffer from pain. What are a billion people doing to relieve their suffering? Anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are the first line of defensive. They’re usually ineffective against chronic pain. Opiates are a very popular way to go. The big problem with opiates is that you will become addicted, if they don’t kill you. 15,000 people died last year in America alone, from opiate painkillers. I can’t even imagine how many people are drinking themselves to death, numbing the pain with alcohol.

Gabapentin or Gaba should be the first line of defense for chronic pain. Unlike opiates, it’s not addictive and it’s highly effective, far more so than opiates that just mask the pain. The beauty of Gabapentin is that it works on the neuropathic aspect of pain.

Gabapentin was originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy. It’s a relatively new anticonvulsant. It’s still being investigated for potential use in the treatment of bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, behavioral dyscontrol, and substance use disorders. It has relatively few side effects and it’s use doesn’t need to be monitored by a doctor.

I’ve read extensively about Gaba and the explanation of how the drug works. It’s very complicated and the bottom line is, they don’t really know.

Why aren’t doctors telling their patients to take Gabapentin for chronic pain? Why do we chase useless therapy from chiropractors and acupuncturists? That’s a billion dollar question. There hasn’t been a lot of study on Gaba, for one thing. There are a couple of studies that show, when taken in the correct dosage, it’s highly effective.

The only way to see if Gabapentin works for you, is to try it for a month. It’s that simple. If you’re in pain, I suggest you try it.

I guarantee you, your GP will not know how to correctly prescribe Gabapentin. When first prescribed by a doctor, here in Thailand, he told me to take one 300 mg capsule a day at bed. That’s an incorrect dosage and completely ineffective. Since I don’t trust Thai doctors, I went home and Googled it, found the correct dosage and started taking it. In a week, my back was feeling better for the first time in months. In three weeks, I was pain free, a miracle!

The secret to Gabapentin, is taking it in the right dosage.

Here are my suggestions for taking Gabapentin:

1. Purchase 100 Gabapentin, 300 mg capsules. You’re going to be building up your tolerance to this drug. Take one capsule once a day for three days. The most common initial side effects of Gaba in adult patients include dizziness, fatigue and doziness. I remember experiencing a surreal feeling occasionally. Don’t worry, all the side effects soon go away.

2. Increase the dosage to two capsules a day one in morning and evening for three more days. Then increase the dosage to three capsules a day, morning, mid-day and evening, before or after meals, it doesn’t make any difference. You will then be on a daily dosage of 900 mg. After two weeks you should notice the pain getting better. In three weeks, the pain maybe gone. There should be some results. If there are no results after one month, stop using Gaba, it’s not working for you.

3. If the pain is better, but not gone in a month, you may increase the Gabapentin dosage. Increase it slowly. For a few days take two capsules at night. Then add two capsules in the morning. 1800 mg is still a safe dosage, that’s what I take. The maximum dosage, I’ve read is 3600 mg. Remember, increase dosage slowly to avoid side effects. If you choose to stop using Gaba, taper off slowly.

I’m not a doctor, I only play one online. I could suggest you speak to your doctor before starting to use Gaba, but I doubt he’ll know much about it. The doctor will look it up, tell you there is a high suicide rate as one of the side effect and not to take it. Yea, there is an infinitesimally higher suicide rate. I wonder what the suicide rate for opiates is? Read up on Gaba if you’re in pain. There is plenty of info online.

I only know it works for me.

Good luck.

Questions and comments at petebowen@outlook.com