Living with chronic pain can cause more than discomfort. It can also cause frustration if treatment after treatment fails to provide relief.
If this sounds familiar, there’s hope. Edward Carden, MD, who is an interventional pain management specialist, offers new and proven strategies that have helped many patients reduce or eliminate their pain and improve their quality of life. One of these solutions is called a pain pump.
In this blog, Dr. Carden — who brings decades of experience in pain management to his practice in Sherman Oaks, California — explains what pain pumps are, what they do, and how one may be able to help you.
Pain pump basics
Generally speaking, a pain pump delivers medication directly to the area surrounding the spinal cord, which is called the intrathecal or subarachnoid space. This part of your body contains cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a substance that bathes and protects your spinal cord and brain.
A pain pump consists of two basic components: a pump and a tube. The pump contains a medication reservoir, which Dr. Carden implants beneath the skin of your abdomen. The tube, or catheter, is connected to the pump, and Dr. Carden threads the tube into the intrathecal space of your spine.
Unlike pain medications you take by mouth, this system enables the pain pump to bypass your digestive system. That means you need far less medication to see results. In fact, most people only require approximately 1/300 of medication to control their pain compared to an oral dose. This means there are usually fewer side effects as well.
Dr. Carden also programs the pain pump to release your prescribed medication slowly over time, ensuring you get the precise dosage you need to remain comfortable. It’s also completely reversible, so Dr. Carden can easily remove the system if desired.
When to consider a pain pump
Dr. Carden offers a variety of cutting-edge pain management solutions and makes recommendations on a case-by-case basis. Pain conditions that respond positively to pain pumps often include:
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
- Causalgia from peripheral nerve injury
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Cancer pain
While pain pumps can offer significant relief for several chronic conditions, they aren’t right for everyone.
Who is a good candidate for a pain pump
Dr. Carden might recommend a pain pump if you:
- Haven’t found relief from more conservative therapies
- Won’t benefit from surgical repair
- Don’t have allergies to the medications in the pain pump
- Have a dependency on pain medications
- Can safely undergo pain pump implantation
- Don’t have any psychological issues
Based on these criteria, Dr. Carden could suggest a pain pump trial to see if it reduces your discomfort. During the trial period, Dr. Carden can monitor your response to the medication and your reaction to the dosage. He can also determine the optimal location for catheter placement.
If you respond positively to your pain pump trial, Dr. Carden could move forward with implanting your permanent device.
Are you looking for pain management solutions? Dr. Carden can help. To learn more, call 310-842-8668 or book an appointment online with Edward Carden, MD, today.