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Thread: Pros and Cons of intrathecal pain pumps... Need Advice

  1. #1

    Pros and Cons of intrathecal pain pumps... Need Advice

    I am looking for advice from anyone who has had intrathecal morphine pain pumps implanted and whether or not they worked for you and what side effects should I be aware of. I have been in debilitating pain for 16 months now since I had a laminectomy/diskectomy at L5/S1 for a massively herniated disk that resulted in Cauda Equina Syndrome, which I still have lingering effects of including bowel issues, numbness, shooting pain and terrible back pain, gait problems, etc.

    I have tried, TENS, epidural steroid injection, various drugs. I am currently on 70mg of OxyContin and take Vicodin for breakthrough, 450 mg of Lyrica (which helps alot for my nerve pain in my legs). Ihave not had any real relief for the searing back pain that shoots down my buttocks and back of my thighs. It is sometimes unbearable. I have been trying to work a full time job but it has become increasingly difficult. My physical medicine doctor is referring me to a neurosurgeon because he talked to him and this doctor thinks he can help me. My doctor suggested either a fusion or an intrathecal pain pump if I didn't want the fusion, which I don't.

    I would appreciate any information you have on the intrathecal pain pumps.

    Thanks,

    Valerie

  2. #2
    Hi Valerie, I'm sorry you're going through all these problems. I have been intrathecal pump that I use for spasms, but I used to have Dilaudid in it to try to help with my central pain, plus I was taking Percocet and OxyContin, and for me it didn't help much with the pain and I was kind of dopey the whole time. Plus I gained a ton of weight which my doctor attributed it to the Dilaudid messing with my hormone levels. But that's just my experience, and I was trying to use it to cure a pain that I now know can't be cured by narcotics. I guess a lot of nerve pain is like that. Good luck on your quest to eliminate your pain.
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  3. #3
    I don't claim to know a whole lot about pain pumps. I will say that if you have some success with narcotics, then maybe this delivery method will offer something for you. I just did a search on Yahoo Groups because I remember someone from another site mentioning a group there. I finally found it, but it's a tiny group.
    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Pumpsters2/

    Not a whole lot of members or activity, but maybe you can find some info there.

    Have you tried combining your Lyrica with a tricyclic antidepressant? That's fairly common.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by David Berg
    Have you tried combining your Lyrica with a tricyclic antidepressant? That's fairly common.
    David,

    I currently take Prozac but I don't know if it is one that you speak of. For a few months, my doctor took my off the Lyrica and wanted to try Cymbalta. That didn't work at all. I have heard of people taking both together from my CES support group but I have never been given that option. I could ask about it. Do you take that combo? And if so, does it work for you?

    Valerie

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by valewil
    David,

    I currently take Prozac but I don't know if it is one that you speak of. For a few months, my doctor took my off the Lyrica and wanted to try Cymbalta. That didn't work at all. I have heard of people taking both together from my CES support group but I have never been given that option. I could ask about it. Do you take that combo? And if so, does it work for you?

    Valerie
    No, Prozac is an SSRI. I'm talking about something such as Elavil and people using it for neuro pain usually take it with an antiseizure drug, such as Lyrica or Neurontin. I'm getting the feeling that you should be looking around for another doctor who has more experience with neuropathic pain.

  6. #6
    have had the pump 12 yrs for spasms. added dilaudid 2 yrs ago for pain which helped.

  7. #7
    Good choice not to do the fusion. My husband had a double fusion and it was a nightmare! Did not help with the pain at all. About 7 years ago he got the pump, and it changed our life. He was able to go back to work, which was huge. Here's the thing though...there are side effects. He developed a sleeping problem, where he walked around asleep, falling and injuring himself. He began taking narcolepsy meds to stay awake at work. The Dr. felt the weird sleep was from the morphine, so for the last 2 years he is on Prialt instead. The sleep is better, not a lot, and there are a different set of side effects. So should you do it? I don't know. It is one thing to deal with the chronic pain, but all the meds add another level of weird side effects. My heart goes out to you, it is a tough decision. Please know you are not alone. Another thought...my husband went to the Mayo Clinic, before the fusion or pump, he did have a tens unit though, and they told him to get off all his meds and start swimming every day to make his back stong again. He didn't do it, and I wish I would have pushed him, because all the meds cause more problems. Would that have been realistic? It didn't seem like it at the time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Rosie, I swim all the time and although it helps loosen up my back muscles, it does nothing for my CP. In fact the cold water in a standard pool actually makes the pain worse.
    mike

  9. #9
    Thanks Mike. That makes me feel better.

  10. #10
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    Thumbs UP or.. thumbs down on the pump?

    Well, I am thinking of it as well... You say it changed his life... that's good... but the drugs caused other problems?? sleep? Is that it? I think I am leaning towards getting it. I have a tens now.. it works a litlle bit for a short time... but then.. the second I shut it off, it comes right back full force?? Who knows... Mike
    Mike (Florida)

    Cant we get 1 do over?

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