More than 20% of adults across the country deal with chronic pain that disrupts their daily life. The constant aches and pain make it difficult to manage even the most basic tasks. This can have a huge impact on overall health and wellness.
For too many, there seems to be no solution available to help them find some relief. They’ve tried treatment after treatment only to be left in the same position.
In these types of desperate situations, intrathecal pumps can be the answer and make all the difference. But many don’t know about this option and how it can change their life. Read this guide to find out everything you need to know about pain relief made possible through intrathecal pumps.
What is a Pain Pump?
An intrathecal pump is a device used to deliver pain management medication directly to an injury on the spine. The round, metal device is inserted into the stomach and has a catheter that connects it to the spinal cord. It allows the patient to eliminate oral medications altogether.
The patient’s pain management team can help determine the dosage and schedule of the medication depending on the type of pain they’re experiencing. This is completely customizable to help the patient find the most relief.
When the medication in the pump has run out, a medical professional can refill the tank by inserting a needle through the skin.
This type of treatment is a great option for those with chronic pain who have been unable to find other effective treatment plans and need pain relief immediately.
Who Qualifies for a Pain Pump?
Getting a pain pump does require spinal surgery, regular injections, and thorough monitoring, so it’s not an option for every patient. It’s important to be sure that this is the right choice before moving forward.
Most often, an intrathecal pump is used for those patients who have tried all kinds of other treatments like therapies and a variety of medication combinations. When they can’t find pain relief through these methods, their life is significantly impacted. The pain makes everyday activities impossible.
These patients often suffer from cancer, have had a major back injury, or have complications with the nerves. Before moving forward with this option, a doctor will do a thorough exam and determine if the patient is a good candidate or not.
How is a Pain Pump Implanted?
In order to install the pain pump, the patient will have to undergo surgery and be placed under anesthesia.
The surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen and a space is created between the skin and muscle for the pump to be placed. Another smaller incision is made on the back near the injured area. A catheter is placed directly into the intrathecal area of the spine and then ran around the abdomen where it connects to the pump.
After the surgery is completed, the patient can expect to experience some added pain and discomfort while everything heals. Once that process is complete, the pump won’t be noticeable to the patient and they should experience relief.
What Are the Side Effects of a Pain Pump?
Luckily, there are very few side effects of getting a pain pump and patients generally don’t have any issues. The main risks you may encounter are from the spinal surgery itself and not necessarily from the device. Some patients may experience prolonged headaches or intense pain at the incision site for longer than a couple of days but these generally resolve on their own.
Beyond that, a patient may experience side effects like dizziness or muscle spasms when the medication dosage is off. But overall, the procedure and treatment option is very safe with minimal side effects.
Are Intrathecal Pumps Effective?
For many patients with chronic pain, it’s difficult to find any break from their symptoms with oral medication alone. This administration method requires the medication to travel around the body, leaving some behind as it moves. But an intrathecal pump places the medication directly in the area where you need it.
Direct access gives the patient much more effective pain management than other methods.
The devices can also be programmed to give higher doses at times when you generally have more pain. It gives the patient the opportunity to take more control over the dosage which isn’t possible with traditional treatment options.
What is Life Like with a Pain Pump?
One of the best things about getting an intrathecal pump implanted is that the patient is free to live a more normal life without all of the negative side effects of their chronic pain. For the most part, the pump won’t even be noticeable after the initial healing process.
The device is designed to work for many years without any additional surgeries or procedures. But the patient will occasionally need to see the pain management doctor to get a refill of the medication in their pump. It may take some time to find the ideal dosage amount and schedule which would require additional appointments as well.
A patient with a pain pump will be able to perform all of their daily activities without limitation because of the device. It will have a very minimal impact on day-to-day routines, beyond giving much-needed relief from the constant pain they’ve had.
Everything You Need to Know About Intrathecal Pumps
Living with chronic pain is devastating in so many ways. Trying to manage all of it can completely take over every day, leaving no time for enjoyment or relaxation.
Intrathecal pumps can make this job significantly easier and return some freedom that was lost. Instead of spending time trying to figure out medication doses and schedules, the pump will handle it all for you. And it can be more effective so there is greater relief overall.
Our team is dedicated to finding the solution that helps offer the most relief from chronic pain symptoms. If you’re interested in learning more about pain pumps in San Marcos, contact us today!