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How effective is a baclofen pump

Neck of Steel CindyNNeck of Steel Cindy Posts: 1,064
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:35 AM in Pain Medications
I am considering a baclofen pump, and just want some feedback from fellow spineys who have experience with this.

I currently take baclofen orally, and cannot tolerate a higher dose due to nausea and it knocks me out. Since I need to be awake, it isn't an option, lol.

I have horrific leg cramping, like charlie horses. And I also have intense tightening (spasming) throughout my body when I first move after being still for an hour or so. I am sure the baclofen will help with those things. My biggest reason for looking into the pump though is to get help with the constant neck and shoulder spasms.

For those of you who have had the pump, did it help with the neck/shoulder tightness? My feeling is that if it will be beneficial to the neck stuff, it will be worth the risks involved. If it is just for the legs and spasticity on the rest of my body, I don't know, because that is not constant. So I'm looking for realistic feedback from those of you who have tried this.

Even if you don't have neck stuff, I'd love to hear your experience with the baclofen pump. Thanks for any comments.

Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!


  • Well, if you are already nearing your maximum daily dose of oral baclofen, and rotations or trials of other "muscle relaxants" did not improve your spasticity, then you may be a candidate for an intrathecal baclofen "trial".

    A pain management physician usually uses a very thin needle and very similar to a lumbar puncture, will inject a test dose of baclofen into the cerebrospinal fluid. You will be hospitalized or kept in observation for almost a full day. You will then see how much better you actually feel.

    If you feel good, and there aren't any complications, then you may be a candidate for an actual implant of the pump.

    So really, you should just ask your physician these questions. Intrathecal (i.e. spinal) baclofen can be extremely effective for spasticity, but there's no better way to find out then actually going through the "trial".

    Good luck!
  • The previous poster gave you a good description of the trial for the baclofen/pain pump. It uses a tiny dose of baclofen/pain medication to reduce pain and spasticity or either one depending on what you and your doctor decide you want to use the pump for.
    The pump does not act like taking oral meds, it sends it directly into the intrathecal space and bathes the nerves directly. It is said to help tremendously with pain and spasiticty. There is a Yahoo group called Pumpsters that you can apply for membership with and they have tons of information about the pumps, the meds used, baclofen outcomes etc......I am thinking about doing a trial as well and I have gotten tons of assistance and information about them through the group.
  • Met with new Dr. yesterday she said looks like you've tried everything what's the status on the Baclofen trail because you are running out of options . This could help you!
    She is the 3rd Dr how is recommending this!
    The PM&R got shut down by the surgeon general no less because he tried to circumvent the system by putting me in the front of the line at another facility.
    Then he advised me to go through my Surgen
    ( who also recommended it) he's at another facility. My record states that the request was closed'! Hospital admin wrote"Further evaluation needed" the Pain Mabagement Dr who read that to me looked up in the air and said "What further Evaulation" she proscribed oral pills and ordered another MRI # 22 in last 20 mo. shortly there after they called an ambulance for me because I had another server spasm.
    Why are they refusing me treatment??
  • My docs suggesting the pump for narcotics. He made me aware that there is a lot of publicity directed at the medical community at the moment so it's becoming a far more common option to be offered. He believes it is a 'Very Last Step not to be taken lightly". Following his direction I'm doing a lot of research.

    Are you scared by the risks & horror stories? I say I'm 'On the fence' but to be completely honest I'm frozen by indecision!! I have the added complication of not knowing if/when I'll return home to England where they're not so common. If something goes wrong I can't be waiting for a specialist to be called in! They seem to need replacement pretty frequently. I'm waiting to find out if the NHS will do surgery every few years. (Any ENGLISH folks know???).

    I can manage my spasms well enough with Botox & Steroid shots, oral Baclofen & Tizanidine & my compounded cream (ketamine, lidocaine, muscle relaxants, nerve meds etc). Stretches, massage, aromatherapy etc (all the usual stuff) I'm considering it for pain. Please let me know how you get on. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
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