Suffering from chronic back pain is certainly miserable; it isn’t something you’d wish on your worst enemy. Thankfully modern medicine has provided many great minimally invasive back surgery options and treatments to help you find relief and start feeling better. Parts one and two of our Back Pain and Sciatica Relief Procedures series talked about many great treatment options including: endoscopic decompression, facet fixation, interbody fusion, radio frequency neurotomy and endoscopic nerve excision. Now we’re moving on to part 3: pain pump and spinal cord stimulators.
Medications can be an effective way to treat chronic pain, but they aren’t without side effects. When taken orally medications must pass throughout the entire body and a great deal must be taken to ensure enough is delivered to stop your pain. On the other hand when medication is delivered directly to the source of your pain, much less is needed. This means fewer side effects and more effective pain relief. We use a pain pump to deliver pain medication to the precise point where it is needed.
The pain pump is surgically implanted under the skin of your abdomen and a small catheter is run from the pump to the spinal column. The pump and catheter deliver pain medication directly to the spinal fluid. This results in potent pain relief, with relatively low doses of medication. The pain pump is best suited for those with chronic severe pain. We may use it on patients that haven’t responded well to other treatment options and that have had severe side effects like sedation, constipation or nausea from oral medications.
Getting a pain pump installed is a two-step process. We first use a temporary catheter to test out the effectiveness of the treatment on your body. If the trial proves successful we then schedule the pain pump surgery. The actual surgery usually takes a couple of hours and you can go home the same day. Your pump will need to be refilled every few months depending on the type of medication used and the dosage received. Refilling the pump just takes a few minutes and can be done without surgery.
If you suffer from chronic pain, contact us and see if the pain pump could help you to better cope.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
Spinal cord stimulation uses a small implanted device to deliver electrical signals to the spinal nerves. This type of stimulation can have analgesic (pain relieving) properties. It is an invasive procedure and isn’t right for everyone, but it can prove effective for the right patients and help them find relief from chronic back pain.
In our offices we typically use spinal cord stimulation when other options have failed. It is effective in treating failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome and other conditions. If you are interested in this treatment, contact our offices; we would love to discuss your options.
During the procedure a small stimulator device is implanted under the skin, typically in the lower back or buttocks. A thin wire travels from the device to the affected area. When the device is turned on patients report feeling a tingling sensation as the low electrical current stimulates the nerves. Some people find the tingling uncomfortable, so we typically test the effectiveness of your body’s response before implanting a device.