Am I a Candidate for a Pain Pump?
A pain pump might be recommended for any patient whose chronic pain has not been relieved with neuropathic pain treatments. It may also be a good option for those who are ineligible for surgery. Although a pain pump may not work for everyone, it may be able to significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and daily activities. Individuals who are reliant on pain medication and have had a positive experience with a trail dose of medicines may be qualified candidates for a pain pump.
The ideal candidate has no medical conditions that would prevent or complicate implantation of the pump. He or she should be psychologically stable and have no allergic reactions to any of the drugs commonly used for treatment. Pumps have been shown to reduce chronic pain associated with the following conditions:
- Cancer or constant pain caused by tumor pressure
- Failed back surgery syndrome or other surgical attempts to reduce pain
- Causalgia or a burning sensation due to a peripheral nerve condition
- Reflex sympathy dystrophy or a chronic disease of the nervous system that causes chronic burning pain
- Chronic pancreatitis caused by pain or inflammation of the pancreatic duct
- Arachnoiditis or scarring and inflammation of the protective layer of the spine known as the meninges
A pain pump can also be used to treat conditions that cause spasticity or difficulty moving the arms and legs, such as:
- Multiple sclerosis or a brain disorder caused by damage to the outer layer of nerve cells
- Cerebral palsy or a nervous system condition that causes loss of control over body movement
- Stroke or lack of oxygen to the brain that results in paralysis in some of the body
- Spinal cord or brain injuries
A pain pump patient should also be aware that there may be reactions or complications with the pump or catheter. Side effects are not very common but may include infections, development of a granuloma (tissue inflammation), or spinal damage.