If you live with chronic pain due to an injury or illness such as cancer, and have tried other therapies without success, you may be a candidate for an intrathecal spinal pump implant. An intrathecal pump implant uses medication administered directly into the area surrounding your spinal cord, which is called the intrathecal space and contains cerebrospinal fluid. The medication stops pain signals from reaching the brain so you don’t experience discomfort.
How does the implant work and are you a candidate? Read on to understand more about how this device treats chronic pain.
What Is an Intrathecal Pump Implant?
The intrathecal pump implant consists of two parts. There’s the actual pump, which holds the medication and is placed just under your skin. The pump is not visible from the outside. The second part is a small tube that connects to the pump, which feeds medication directly into the intrathecal space around the spinal cord.
Your spinal cord plays an essential role in receiving pain signals from the rest of the body, which makes spinal pump implants effective for a number of conditions. Opioids, local anesthetics or other medications may be used in the pain pump to help control pain.
Prior to having a pain pump inserted, your physician will conduct a test procedure to see if you’re a good candidate for a spinal pump implant. During this procedure, your physician will give you an injection of a certain type of medication in the area. If your pain is reduced by at least 50%, you’re considered a candidate.
What Are the Benefits?
There are numerous benefits of having an intrathecal pump implant to help manage your pain. Since the medication is directly administered into the intrathecal space, only a small fraction of the pain medication you’d normally take orally is needed to have an effect. Not only will you have a lower dose of medication, you’ll also be able to avoid many of the side effects of opioids and other pain medications that are typically used orally.
Medications administered through a pain pump also tend to work faster and be stronger than those used orally. You’ll also reduce your risk for opioid dependence. As your physician fills up your pain pump every few months, there’s no need to remember to take medication or worry about the medication “wearing off”, as these medications are continuously released into the intrathecal space for pain relief.
Conditions Treated by Intrathecal Pain Pumps
Spinal pump implants are often considered as a last resort for people experiencing chronic pain. You may qualify for a pain pump if you experience pain from:
- Injuries to the spinal cord
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Muscle spasms linked to a certain illness or condition, such as multiple sclerosis
- Complex regional pain syndrome
If you have tried traditional therapies including medication, physical therapy, nerve blocks and even surgery, without success, it may be time to consider an intrathecal pump implant.
Are You a Candidate for a Spinal Pump Implant? Find Out During a Consultation
If you’re experiencing chronic pain that hasn’t responded to traditional therapies, don’t give up. You could benefit from a spinal pump implant to help reduce and control your pain without the side effects of medication. Contact Summit Spine & Joint Centers to schedule a consultation today at (770) 250-4020 or submit our online form to find out if you could benefit from this procedure.