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Am I A Candidate for a Pain Pump?

If you’ve ever been in a hospital and reached for the medication button that automatically dispensed pain-relieving drugs into your system, you understand the concept behind the pain pump. Only this is better, because it's pre-programmed to release just the right dose of just the right medication at just the right time — no button necessary.

Technically, it’s called an intrathecal pain pump, and it’s changing the lives of people living with chronic pain. If you’re wondering whether you might be a good candidate for this extraordinary automatic delivery system, come see our team of neuromuscular and pain management specialists here at Arlington Pain & Therapy. We help hurting patients throughout the greater Arlington and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas areas manage and overcome their chronic pain every day. 

Pain pump basics

A pain pump is a medication-filled reservoir that’s implanted under the skin in your abdomen. A catheter leads from that reservoir to your spinal column, where it releases pre-programmed doses of pain-relieving drugs. 

The medication mixes with your cerebrospinal fluid and floods your spine with pain relief. This effectively blocks pain signals from ever reaching your brain. When your reservoir is empty, we simply refill it with an injection through your skin and into the reservoir about every 3-6 months. The battery typically lasts 3-7 years before a replacement is necessary.

But the pain pump isn’t for everyone. Conservative treatment options are always preferable to extreme measures. Pain pumps are reserved for those who have exhausted their options, including surgery when applicable, and still haven’t achieved adequate pain relief. 

If our team determines you may benefit from a pain pump, we first test it out with a trial run. We inject a dose of the pain medication — baclofen for instance — into the exact location where your pain pump would deliver it. If it’s effective, then we move forward with implantation.

Qualifications for the pain pump

As we mentioned, the pain pump is not the first course of treatment, nor is it right for everybody. Here’s a pain pump prequalification checklist:

Those are the general qualifications — next, are some of the conditions we treat with the pain pump.

The pain pump treats these conditions

There are two main categories of conditions that are well-suited for the pain pump: chronic pain and spasticity. 

Chronic pain conditions

Pain that doesn’t let up and plagues you for three months or more is considered chronic pain. When nothing else seems to relieve it, the pain pump may be your answer. It’s especially effective if your chronic pain stems from:

These conditions all create pain by putting pressure on your spinal nerves.

Muscle spasticity

Certain conditions that cause your muscles to become rigid or have uncontrollable spasms can be treated with the pain pump, which delivers medication that relaxes the muscle tissue. A pain pump can help if you have:

Many patients who have lived with the debilitating symptoms of these conditions have reported improved function and quality of life with the pain pump.

If you want to learn more about the life-changing pain pump and whether or not you’re a good candidate, call us at either of our Mansfield offices or our Arlington, Texas office to schedule a consultation, or book one online

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