Pain Pump

A pain pump is surgically implanted device designed to deliver medication directly to the spinal cord reducing the dosage required for pain relief, and limiting the side effects of oral medication. Pain pumps interrupt pain signals to the brain and are used when oral medications and other strategies have failed to relieve neuropathic pain, or surgery has been ruled out.

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

A pain pump can help relieve chronic back and/or leg pain that occurs after back (spinal) surgery, usually a laminectomy.

Cancer Pain

Pain pumps can help relieve cancer pain and reduce side effects such as nausea and constipation.

The Process

Pain management doctors or neurosurgeons first examine individual to determine if the therapy is the right solution for the individual’s condition. Next, an individual will receive a trial that consists of three main steps: local or general anesthesia, placing the catheter into the back, and implanting the pump with medication into the abdomen. Most individuals are discharged the same day and certain activities (housework) should be avoided for 6 to 8 weeks to prevent movement of the catheter. If the pain pump fails to deliver relief, it can be removed at any time.


Pain pumps have minimal risks and side effects that include: respiratory depression, twitching, muscle spasm, urinary retention, constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, depression, and edema. More serious side effects can include: infection or bleeding from surgery, catheter movement, blockage or failure, spinal fluid accumulation or leakage resulting in headaches. 

As with any medical procedure, pain pumps are not appropriate for everyone. Please consult with your Pain Doctor or Neurosurgeon to determine if this procedure is right for you.

Source: WebMD