Considering a Pain Pump? Questions to Ask Your Health Care Providers


Pain pumps deliver pain medication directly into the space around the spinal cord. The medication delivered by a pain pump blocks pain signals that would normally travel to the brain. There are many questions an individual may want to ask their health care providers to help determine if a pain pump is a good choice for their specific condition.

General questions

  • What are the benefits of having a pain pump?
  • What degree of pain relief will a pain pump provide?
  • Are more conservative treatments available?
  • What are the potential risks and complications of having a pain pump?

Device questions

  • Where will the pump be placed?
  • Are there any activity limitations once the pump is in place?
  • How long does the battery in the pump last?
  • How long can the pump remain implanted?
  • Why might the pump need to be removed or replaced? What does removal or replacement involve?

Medication questions

  • What medication(s) will be used in the pain pump?
  • What are the medication side effects?
  • How long will it take for the medication to take effect?
  • Will the medication be delivered continuously or at specific intervals of time?
  • Can the dosage be increased or decreased if needed?
  • What is the procedure for refilling the pump?
  • How often will the pump need to be refilled? Who refills it?

Medical trial questions

  • Will a trial phase be completed before having the pain pump implanted?
  • What does a trial entail? How long does it last?
  • What information from the trial will be used to help determine if a pain pump will be implanted?

Implantation procedure questions

  • Where will the procedure take place? Who will perform the procedure?
  • Will the procedure involve local or general anesthesia?
  • Where will incisions be made?
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • What does recovery entail?
  • What potential complications could occur?

Financial questions

  • How much will the device, implantation, and medication cost?
  • Are the device, procedure, and medication refills covered by insurance?
  • Is pre-approval from the insurance company required?
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