What to Expect With an Intrathecal Pain Pump

More than 20% of American adults live with chronic pain, and more than 7% have such severe pain that it interferes with their ability to go to work, school, or social activities. If you’re one of the millions of people whose lives are disrupted by chronic pain, it’s time to find a treatment that works. 

At Interventional Pain Center in Worthington and Newark, Ohio, Sachida Manocha, MD, offers thorough evaluations for chronic pain and highly personalized treatment plans. Intrathecal pain pumps are one of the available options for chronic pain management.

About intrathecal pain pumps

An intrathecal pain pump is an implantable device consisting of a reservoir and medical tubing that delivers precise doses of medicine directly to your spinal cord. 

You have two pain pump options: fixed-rate pumps and variable-rate pumps. Fixed-rate pumps deliver a steady stream of pain medication into your spine, and variable-rate pumps are programmed to provide the amount of medicine you need at the right times to meet your specific needs. 

Intrathecal pain pumps can deliver various medicines into your spine. Morphine, hydromorphone, baclofen, and ziconotide are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs. 

Conditions often treated with intrathecal pain pumps

Dr. Manocha may suggest an intrathecal pain pump to relieve:

Intrathecal pain pumps aren’t a first-line approach to pain management. In most cases, Dr. Manocha tries less invasive pain management therapies before suggesting a surgical treatment. 

Benefits of intrathecal pain pumps

Intrathecal pain pumps can help you get back to your regular activities and lead a pain-free life. It’s often effective if other treatments have failed. 

They’re generally considered more effective and safer than oral medication. This is because pumps deliver the drug directly into your spine, so you typically need a lower dose that would be needed with oral medications to achieve effective pain relief. Oral doses need to be processed and absorbed in your digestive system, so the dosing usually needs to be higher to make up for the fact that not all of the medication is usually absorbed. Intrathecal pain pumps also usually produce fewer side effects than oral medications. 

The procedure is also reversible. Dr. Manocha may combine an intrathecal pain pump with physical therapies and other therapies to address the condition causing your pain. When your body recovers and isn’t sending pain signals, he can remove the pain pump with a minimally invasive procedure.

Process for getting an intrathecal pain pump

There are five steps involved in getting an intrathecal pain pump.

1. Medical evaluation

First, Dr. Manocha provides a thorough evaluation, including any necessary exams, before recommending any pain management treatment. 

2. Trial

The trial period tests if a pain pump relieves your pain. Your trial could involve a spinal injection or a temporary and easily removable system that performs like an intrathecal pain pump. 

3. Implantation

If your trial is successful, Dr. Manocha schedules an operation to implant the reservoir and create a tunnel for the catheter to extend to the correct location in your spine.

4. Recovery

Recovery from the implantation procedure usually takes 6-8 weeks. However, you should be able to get back to most of your regular activities within a few weeks. 

5. Refill

You have appointments for Dr. Manocha to refill your medication reservoir and check that the pump is working correctly. 

If you live with chronic pain that limits your quality of life and overall well-being, book an appointment online or over the phone with Interventional Pain Center today. We’re committed to providing the expert care you need to lead a healthy, fulfilling, and pain-free life.

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