What are your experiences with a pain pump? Relief or no relief..

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 255
   Posted 8/28/2011 3:44 AM (GMT -6)   
I was told about my option to go for testing for a spinal stimulator and or a pain pump but nothing was really explained to me. I've had a hard time adjusting to my pain meds because of the higher doses and just not getting the pain relief to be able to function. I was just wondering what pain pump recipients think about there pump.Also I was told I would be tested for a spinal stimulator then a pain pump does this sound correct.. Thanks Beck
AVASCULAR-NECROSIS (AVN) in 6 joints. HIPS,KNEE'S and SHOULDERS-Replaced 1 shoulder. replacing left hip 9/8/11 then left shoulder.
Bilateral Empyema with Thoracotomy with Decordication.(Removed the Lining of left lung)

Screaming Eagle
Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 5005
   Posted 8/28/2011 7:53 AM (GMT -6)   
       Morning NO-RELIEF!
           Since you are asking for members to comment on their personal experience with the Pumps, I have contacted Straydog to take a peek at this thread and possibly comment on it.
      I believe we have a few members who have them, and for the most part I think they are happy with them. However I will let them speak for themselves.
   The only comment I would add here, and this is only my opinion!....for me personally,...I would rather go with the pump, and I say this cautiously...as neither devise is something to jump into lightly, and are considered one of the very last resorts for treatment.
    Although we do see members enjoying some success with the Spinal Stimulator....I believe that we see more praise here on the forum with the Pump, than we do for the Stimulator. Again I want to be cautious here with my comments, and let members who actually use them speak for themselves.
       Good luck in you're research!
        SE wink
       You know!...I kinda had an after thought about this!
   I think it is important to note that the success of either device is dependent on your Surgeon and servceability. Your pump will only be as good as the PM who is compounding the correct med's for the maximum effect. I believe Straydog will agree with this. As for the Spinal Stimulator, well...it will depend on the surgeon's ability to correctly place it for the maximum effect, and then the follow through by whom ever adjust it.
I'm not sure what the succes rate is for the stimulator, but if it was higher than it appears here on the forum, then ....Oh...and I again say this cautiously!....I would opt for the Stimulator....as I really do not like the pain med's at all.....or the fact that if a refill was missed....one would not have to worry about withdrawal
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Post Edited (Screaming Eagle) : 8/28/2011 7:24:20 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 816
   Posted 8/28/2011 9:30 AM (GMT -6)   
As a cp patient who has a stimulator in the right lower back, I will say, I wish I had not allowed myself to be talked out of the pain pump.
I had the medtronics neurostimulator installed in my back May 2010, after approx 3 weeks, I was given the battery pack and a 15 minute lesson on how to use it.  I went home, and I also had a dvd to watch and a book that had instructions on how use everything, after a week of trying to charge my stim. I made an appt. to see a medtronics rep. at my doctors office.  He never showed up, no one called to say they were sorry they never showed up.  I made another appt. to see this rep again, and this time a rep showed up whom I had never seen before.  But this was ok, as long as we got this thing working, who cares if the rep who was supposed to show up felt his time was more important than mine, and I wasted money to get to my doctors office, not to mention the fact that I take public transportation.
So after much pushing and adjusting, it was decided that my stim had been installed to deep.  I will say the time of healing was not bad at all.  When I asked my doctor why, as I had expected to feel awful after surgery, this was a pleasant surprise.  I was advised by my doctor the healing went well as they dont have to deal with muscle and blah blah.
So then in July of 2010, I had surgery to adjust the stim so it was not in so deep.  After another 4 weeks this time I was again supposed to meet with a rep from medtronics, and again, no one showed up.  I went home and spent the next month attempting to charge the stimulator, calling back and forth to the office and speaking with several techs who I guess tried there best to get this thing working.
As of this day August 28, 2011, it is a useless piece of metal in my back with several useless leads going this way and that way.  I can only tell they are in there because they pinch me every once in awhile.
Before I had the surgery in 2010 my doctors office was filled with phamphlets about the wonderful things medtronics can do with the stimulators and pain pumps.  In the last 6 months I noticed there are no more phamphlets from medtronics in his office at all.  I feel bad for my doctor, as he is human, he made a little mistake, but he did try to correct this problem.  The problem was the lack of support from the personnel at medtronics.  They reminded me of used car salesman everytime I talked to them.  Most of the talking took place over the phone, as they just couldnt seem to make it to the appointments that were supposed to help me.
So, I have a useless stim and leads in my back, and a useless battery pack.  Medtronics wont take it back, since it appears I bought it when I agreed to the surgery.  Now I know it seems that I am blaming Medtronics for all of the things that went wrong.  I am not, I blame myself, I allowed myself to be talked into something I knew I didnt want, the trial I had was useless, I knew better, but the very thought of what they were selling, less pain, less medicine, it was intoxicating.
So the lesson here is think very carefully before you make your decision.  Ask questions, your doctor, anyone else in your doctors office that has had  either pump or stim installed.  I remember when I stated that I would rather have the pump, I was advised by medtronics that I would just have to have my meds increased as time went by, which by the way, I will be doing anyway, as time goes on I will be having my meds increased.
Please do as much research as you can, SE, sorry this is so long, but I have strong feeling on this subject.
degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, neuropathy, lumbar laminectomy july 1998 no help, rechargeable neurostimulator unit low right back w/lead wires to left side and right leg unit not working just sitting there.i am 57 years young in may will turn 58. i have 2 grown daughters, 25 and 29. i have 2 grandchildren, 9 year old grandaughter and 5 yr. old grandson

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16768
   Posted 8/28/2011 11:07 AM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning No-Relief and welcome to Healing Well's chronic pain forum. I am sorry that you have to be here but very glad that that you found us.

I normally do not ever try to be forward here at the forum, however, today must be my day to be forward, lol. I don't know about you No-Relief, but I like getting my information straight from the horses mouth, rather than someone throwing a bunch of words around that have no meaning or have inaccurate information just to be saying something.

I have a pain pump, a Medtronics pump. My pump was put in June 2005 and I can tell pretty much anything you want to know based on my experience with a pump. As a result of a having a very good PM dr that knows these pumps like the back of her hand, I now have quality life, something I didn't have on oral medications. There is no comparison of oral medications to medications that are used in pumps. I think it was said you can get the same effects, that is dead wrong, no you cannot. Actually, if you are on a high dosage of oral medications like I was, with the pump I am on a lower dose with the pump and I have much better pain control. The medications used in pumps is in a concentrated form which is totally different from pill form. There are many different medications that can be used in pumps and many combinations used as well. I have 4 different meds in my pump.

I would tell anyone that is to the point a pain pump is in the future give it try, at least do the trial for the pump, that will tell you if you are a true candidate or not and if it will work. You must also have a psych evaluation and pass that before a pump can be implanted.

I can wear anything clothing wise and no one can see my pump, it does not bulge out for the world to see either. In fact, if I want to tuck a blouse in thats no problem either. The pump is no quite the size of a hockey puck, a flap is made and it sits in it. The pumps are implanted on the side of your stomach sort of high up, it is above the belt line. When they implanted them lower at the belt line people would cause their pumps to flip from wearing pants to tight in the waist, so now they put them in higher up to avoid that.

I am going to ask you to use the search feature at the top right of this page and type in pain pumps. There is a bunch of information that you can read about, a lot of it is things I have written about pumps that I think you will find useful. You may also email me, my email is listed here, just click my name to get it. I could go on & on about pumps, but there is no sense in me using costly space to repeat what has been written before, that is why I say use the search feature and email me directly. If you prefer to post your questions here and I will do my best to answer them.

Now, this is my opinion only, I would not ever have an SCS unit, the trend is they may work maybe at first then a couple years down the road they stop helping. I have seen a lot of people that praised them to no end in the beginning and now they wished that had never bothered with it in the first place. It is strictly a personal decision that only you can make.

I also urge you to go to Medtronics.com, they have a wonderful website on pumps and they give detailed info on them. Medtronics pumps run off of batteries, however, a company called Codman has a pump out that runs off of gasses and those do not have to be replaced unless the pump actually fails. My next pump will be a Codman and I am so excited about that. If its your first pump a Codman would not be the best choice for reasons I will go into later.

By the way, there is a slim chance of what is called granulomas forming on the tip of a catheter in a pump. This usually occurs when a dr has been using medications not approved for pumps and the rate being set too high. It is a possibility, but if your dr know what he is doing this shouldn't be a problem.

Let me hear from you if you have more questions. Take care.
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