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Understanding Intrathecal Pain Pumps

Understanding Intrathecal Pain Pumps

If traditional methods of managing your chronic pain have failed, intrathecal pain pumps may be the answer to your problems. This innovative technology has helped many people find long-term relief. But is it right for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know about intrathecal pain pumps.

What Is an Intrathecal Pain Pump?

An intrathecal pain pump is a small device that is used to apply medications directly to the spine. A “pump” is placed beneath the patient’s abdominal section. The pump is attached to a catheter which leads to the area surrounding the spine. The device is programmed to release pain-killing medications at specific times.

Is an Intrathecal Pain Pump More Effective Than Oral Medications?

Because medications are applied directly to the affected area, this method is significantly more effective than traditional oral medications. In fact, intrathecal pain pumps require more than 1% of the dosage of oral medications.

How Does It Work?

As with any medical procedure, it is important to talk with a qualified professional to determine if an intrathecal pain pump is right for you. If you and your pain doctor in Toledo, Ohio agree that this is the best course of action, it is important to understand what is happening and how the device works.

The installation of the device requires a minimally invasive surgical procedure. Your doctor will work with a programmer to create the appropriate regimen. Once they have come to a consensus on the right dosage, it will be programmed into the pump. During the actual procedure, the patient will be anesthetized while the pump is inserted. The pump is approximately three inches long and one inch wide. Once the pump is comfortably in place, it is attached to a very small tube which directs the medication to the appropriate location.

What Happens After Surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, the patient will need a brief recovery period before resuming everyday activities. Once that period has passed, they will begin to see the benefits of the procedure almost immediately. Because the medication is being applied in such a small dose, they should experience significantly fewer side effects than they would with traditional medications.

When the medication in the pump runs out, your pain management physician can refill it using a simple needle-based procedure. They will make a small injection that will deliver a new supply of the medication directly to the device. After which, treatment will again resume as normal. If for any reason the dosage needs to be adjusted, the doctor and programmer can work together to change it to suit your needs without any additional procedures. Changes made remotely will take effect immediately, allowing the patient to resume their lives without spending excessive time in a medical office.

The installation of an intrathecal pain pump is completely reversible. If at any time the patient decides they do not want to continue with this method of treatment, all they need to do is consult their doctor and schedule a surgical procedure. The surgical team will then carefully remove the device, leaving everything in the same state it was before the procedure.

Who Are Ideal Candidates for an Intrathecal Pain Pump?

Because most patients and doctors agree that surgery should never be the first option, intrathecal pain pumps should only be considered after more conventional methods have failed to provide the patient with relief. In many cases, this method should be considered a last resort. However, in the right cases, an intrathecal pain pump may be the only viable method for controlling chronic pain.

This procedure should be considered by:

  • People struggling with pain related to cancer or other serious diseases
  • People recovering from traumatic back injuries
  • People who underwent unsuccessful back surgeries
  • People who have tried numerous approaches to pain management in Oregon, Ohio to no avail

Who Should Avoid Intrathecal Pain Pumps?

  • People with a history of opioid addiction
  • People with a history of serious mental illness
  • People who have not yet tried a more conservative approach

Benefits of Intrathecal Pain Pumps

  • Lowered Dosages
    This is perhaps one of the biggest benefits of intrathecal pain pumps. All pain medications come with varying levels of risk for dependency. Because medications are administered at a small fraction of the dosage that would be prescribed orally, this method comes with a lowered risk of dependency.
  • Fewer Side Effects
    Powerful pain medications often come with unwanted side effects, including fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. This procedure administers medications directly to the affected area, leaving less of a chance for medications to interfere with the body’s other functions.
  • Low Maintenance
    Intrathecal pain pumps are preprogrammed to dispense a predetermined amount of a specific medication at the appropriate time. This means the patient does not have to worry about taking the correct dosage or maintaining the regimen on their own.

Potential Downsides

  • Surgery
    As with all surgeries, the installation of an intrathecal pain pump does come with a slight risk. Patients should carefully weigh their options and only proceed if advised by a trusted medical professional.
  • Recovery Times Vary
    After the device is inserted, the patient may not be able to resume normal activity for anywhere from one week to two months. It can be difficult to predict exactly how long recovery will take for each individual.
  • Possible Errors Within the Device
    In rare cases, the device may stop distributing the medication appropriately. Although this happens rarely, repairing it can be time-consuming.

How Should I Proceed?

We advise all potential patients to do as much research on this topic as they can. A well-educated patient knows what to expect and can make well-informed decisions about their health. If you believe that an intrathecal pain pump may be right for you, contact us today. We will be happy to discuss your specific needs. If we agree that this pain condition Treatment in Perrysburg, Ohio will help to eliminate your chronic pain, we will work together to design and implement a plan that will have you on your way to living the pain-free life that you deserve. Contact Comprehensive Centers For Pain Management today for more information.

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