Less Medication, More Relief

sick woman on bed concept of back pain Chronic pain is brutal. It is a daily presence that begins to close off a person’s life as they have to give up more and more activities to avoid the pain. Even simple tasks such as walking around the grocery store can become painful drudgery.

As a pain management specialist, Dr. Trujillo helps our patients from Show Lo and the surrounding areas get past the pain. One of the tools he uses is the intrathecal pain pump.

In March’s two blogs, let’s get into this automated form of pain medication delivery.

What is an intrathecal pain pump?

An intrathecal pain pump is a small medical device that delivers medication directly to the spinal cord into the intrathecal space. This is the space that surrounds the spinal cord.

The intrathecal pain pump looks kind of like a hockey puck for you Phoenix Coyotes fans. Dr. Trujillo surgically implants the pump beneath the skin of the abdomen area. The interior of the device holds the medication. The pump is attached to a tube that runs from the device to the intrathecal space around the spine.

What are the advantages of having a pain pump?

As an alternative to oral medication, pain pumps have several advantages:

  • Only a small amount of medication is needed. Even a small concentration (1/300th of the same medication in pill form) can relieve a patient’s pain. Medications taken in pill form require a much higher dosage since they flow through the whole body before reaching the spinal cord. Because of this problem, oral medications such as opioids can cause side effects, tolerance problems, and addiction.
  • Few side effects. Because the pain pump delivers the medication directly to the area this reduces side effects such as nausea, constipation, and drowsiness.
  • Reduced addiction to opioids. The reduced dosage and direct delivery mean there is little risk for addiction. Pain pumps are excellent for chronic pain patients who cannot tolerate oral opioid pills.
  • No problem missing medications. The pump is programmed to release medications slowly and constantly. It can also deliver extra medication at those times of the day when the patient expects to have more pain. The pump stores this information and medication amounts in its memory, so you don’t have to do or remember anything.

In March’s post vernal equinox blog, we’ll get into some more details about intrathecal pain pumps at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic Associates. Until then, if you need to see Dr. Trujillo, please give us a call at (855) 768-4968 to make an appointment.

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