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Question about pain pumps

Hi, I've been considering asking my PMD about the pain pump. I'm having horrible problems with medication being & staying affective. I have already done steroid shots and radio frequency nerve ablation with very little relief. My pain issues have caused me to be on opiod therapy daily for about 7 years now & I've tried every medication out there. They do work, in high doses & I'm not a fan of being zombified 24/7, especially since I have young children.
I'm getting a new MRI done next week & plan to update this thread with it's results. I recall that my previous scan (5+ yrs ago) indicated degeneration, bulges, & narrowing of a nerve canal.
I haven't had any fusions or any other major surgeries...yet. And considering the stats on success rates of surgery & my awful luck, I'm sure it would probably do me more harm than good.
I would be willing to try a surgery BUT I'd line to wait until my children are a bit older if possible. I have a support network of people that's pretty much ZILCH. I was bedridden recently for 2 days & everything went to hell. If my kids were a few years older, I could recover from surgery much better. I'm afraid now would be bad timing & I wouldn't be able to really take the time to heal real well.
I'm wondering if the pump might be an option for the next 5 years or so.
I read some threads last night, great info! What I didn't see is a story of anyone who has gotten a pump installed without having a fusion or major major surgery prior.
Has anyone done this? Or knows someone?
My pain gets so bad at times that I've considered taking my life because my quality of life is so awful.
Hearing about everyone's success with relief from the pump gave me hope. I feel like its just the ticket.
Please, any info is appreciated .
Even typing this on my iPhone is painful. The burning from nerve pain in my hands is killing me. I got far too little sleep last night due my the burning/tingling/pain in my feet & hands last night.
I just want to feel sort if normal Gain. I hate this so much.


  • medical devices are usually categorized as last resort options for management for pain, after non surgical options, surgical options and oral options have all failed. A pain pump is considered the end of the road as far as treatment for pain goes, so I doubt that you will find a surgeon willing to consider that option , especially since you are trying to avoid/postpone surgery by using that instead. A pump once implanted, barring any complications is considered a long term ( life long commitment). It is not something to be put in for a while, then removed or substituted for later....
    As far as surgical outcomes go, it really depends on what the conditions are that the surgery is being done for. Most patients who have surgery to correct a mechanical problem in their spines , do quite well and go back to living their lives, so don't feel the need to post on forums like these once they get back on their feet. If you have compression of the nerves in the spine, the longer you wait, the more likely that the damage can become permanent.
    If I were you, I would get that new MRI done, and make a couple of appointments with both an ortho and neuro board certified spine to see what if any surgery they suggest and make a list of questions that you have for them. See what type of surgery they would recommend and the success rates of that type of surgery.
    Then , figure out what options there are, the likelihood of permanent damage if you don't have surgery, and the chances for a good outcome if you do.
  • calleryblossomccalleryblossom Posts: 4
    edited 06/29/2013 - 1:49 PM
    I appreciate the info. I guess once I get my MRI done, I'll know more.
    I've got a bad feeling about my nerves. I've had problems with my back as far back as I can recall. If I had to guess, probably as a result of the physical abuse I suffered as a child. I got knocked into walls bathtubs, you name it on a regular basis. The car accident just sealed the deal I guess.
    I'll be sure to update when I know more.
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  • I understand, wanting to avoid surgery, and not having the support that you might need post op, fear of winding up worse than you are now, and of course reading some of our stories is enough to scare anyone at times, but the reality is that most spine surgery turns out well and the patient just goes back into the land of the living once they recover.
    If a surgeon tells you that he can do surgery to relieve pain- run! Spine surgery should be done to repair/remove a mechanical problem, slipped vertebra, herniation that compresses the nerve rootlets, or the spinal canal that contains the spinal nerves themselves, a broken vertebra, but not only for pain relief, surgery usually is not considered.
    The big problem is that if you have numbness now, then it might very well be that a nerve root is compromised and needs to have whatever is compressing it removed. The plus side is that the numbness should disappear, but depending on the length of time and the extent of the damage, it can take some months before you see a large improvement, and relieving the compression should relieve the back problem.
    Anyway, get the new MRI done, see what the consults with the two surgeons tell you, and then see what options you have, before getting too far ahead of yourself.
    I'll hope to see your outcome soon.
  • terror8396tterror8396 Posts: 1,832
    edited 06/30/2013 - 3:51 AM
    i waited before my first fusion and now after 12 years i am suffering the consequences. the nerve in my right leg is shot and i feel like i have never had surgery. i have had 4 fusions but the pain gets worse everyday and now i wake up every night due to the pain. i have to sleep alone because i am worried that i will wake up my wife from the pain. like i said, it feels just like i had before my fusion. pain down the leg from the butt to the knee. toes are paralyzed, the middle two and when the doctor tries to test my reflexes, me leg just sits there like a dead fish. don't wait and don't make excuses. it will get worse and then you will be sorry you waited. aq guy i worked with had the same issues and his wife implored me to get him to have surgery on his herniated disc. it was getting worse and he could not even walk. he finally retired and his wife said his pain got worse and he still did not have the surgery. he finally died from a heart attack but he suffered to the end
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Sounds like you are dealing with very tough issues. One the one hand, surgery is to be avoided if possible. The catch is that in some instances waiting too long can lead to serious damage if nerves or circulation are being compromised. Numbness and weakness are usually more serious symptoms than pain.

    This is only for a specialist to assess. I wound up having 4 vertebrae fused after a previous laminectomy, and came away with the distinct impression that my spine may have been left unstable after the laminectomy and that I should have been fused the first time around. This is not always the case, but I will always wonder.

    By all means have the MRI and a serious talk with your doctor. And please keep us updated.
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