Randomized controlled study.
To investigate the efficacy of treatment with gabapentin on the clinical symptoms and findings in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
Summary of Background Data.
LSS is a syndrome resulting from the narrowing of the lumbar nerve root canal, spinal canal, and intervertebral foramen, causing compression of the spinal cord. The most significant clinical symptom in patients with LSS is neurologic intermittent claudication (NIC). Gabapentin, which has been used in the treatment of neuropathic pain, may be effective in the treatment of symptoms associated with LSS.
Fifty-five patients with LSS, who had NIC as the primary complaint, were randomized into 2 groups. All patients were treated with therapeutic exercises, lumbosacral corset with steel bracing, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The treatment group received gabapentin orally in addition to the standard treatment.
Gabapentin treatment resulted in an increase in the walking distance better than what was obtained with standard treatment (P = 0.001). Gabapentin-treated patients also showed improvements in pain scores (P = 0.006) and recovery of sensory deficit (P = 0.04), better than could be attained with the standard treatment.
Based on the results of our pilot study, extensive clinical studies are warranted to investigate the role of gabapentin in the management of symptomatic LSS.