Conservative Treatments Haven't Worked: Should I Try a Pain Pump?

Conservative Treatments Haven't Worked: Should I Try a Pain Pump?

Physical therapy and lifestyle changes can work wonders on some types of pain, but when nothing seems to work, medication may be your best solution. But drugs come with side effects and the risk of addiction.

Most of the problems associated with pain medications stem from misuse and high dosages. But there’s a way to use medication without these risks — intrathecal targeted drug delivery or a pain pump.

Our team at Regency Pain & Therapy Institute in Mansfield, Texas, understands the frustration you experience with chronic pain that doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, so we offer the pain pump as a next-level solution. We implant a small reservoir filled with baclofen in your abdomen and route a thin catheter to your spinal cord. We program the reservoir to release controlled amounts of the medication. 

Here are some signs you may be a good candidate for a pain pump.

Pain pumps — more effective than oral medication

Certain types of pain are intractable, and medication barely reduces the intensity. This often leads people with chronic pain to misuse opioid medications, hoping that larger doses will ease their suffering. Unfortunately, it only leads to addiction.

The medication contained in a pain pump is safer and more effective for several reasons:

We program your pain pump to deliver precise amounts of medication, so you don’t have to remember to take it, there’s no chance of overdosing, and the medication is delivered straight to your spinal cord, so your relief is immediate. 

When to consider a pain pump

Several scenarios may warrant a pain pump, but we never recommend it before trying conservative measures, such as physical therapy and injections. If those fail to bring relief, a pain pump may be in order. Here are some of the conditions that may qualify for a pain pump.

You have muscle spasticity or rigidity

Chronic muscle contractions are painful and can interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks. Spasticity and rigidity often stem from medical conditions such as:

By delivering the muscle-relaxing medication directly into your spinal cord, the pain pump bypasses your digestive system and stops pain instantly. 

You have cancer pain

Cancer hurts — it affects your nerves and bones as it spreads throughout your body. Cancer treatment can also cause pain by damaging nerve fibers and generating scar tissue. As long as your cancer hasn’t spread to your spine, a pain pump may be advisable.

You had back surgery that didn’t work

About 84% of adults experience chronic lower back pain, and many opt for surgery to resolve it. Up to 40% of those patients experience persistent pain despite the surgery. It’s so common that it even has a name: failed back surgery syndrome, and it makes you a good candidate for a pain pump.

You have chronic regional pain syndrome

Severe burning pain in one arm or leg may be the result of a nerve injury and a condition called chronic (or complex) regional pain syndrome. Sometimes we can confirm the point of injury, and sometimes the exact cause remains unknown, but either way, a pain pump is often the most effective solution to stop the persistent pain.

You have scar tissue in your spine

Your spine is a narrow canal with countless nerves running in and out. The slightest crowding can press against these delicate nerve fibers and cause unrelenting pain. Inflammation and scar tissue are two of the most common culprits that can crowd your spine. We call this condition arachnoiditis and treat it with a pain pump.

Oral medications are causing side effects or addiction

It takes a higher dose of oral medication to make it through your digestive system, so it carries a higher risk of addiction and side effects than medication delivered through a pain pump. If oral medication is causing secondary problems, it may be time to consider a pain pump.

Should you try a pain pump?

Pain pumps are 91% effective for those who try them, but they aren’t for everyone. In fact, if you have a psychological disorder, such as dementia, you’re not a good candidate for a pain pump. Cancer in your spine, active infections, and drug allergies can also disqualify you.

To find out if a pain pump is the right choice for you, schedule a consultation with our team by calling us at 817-435-1642 today. 

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