Spinal pain pumps are one option for people who are dealing with intractable chronic back pain. These devices, which are implanted into the back, work by delivering a pain medicine in regular doses over a specified period of time. A doctor will “refill” the pump each month, and the pump will then administer the medicine over the course of the month to help control your pain. Solomon Kamson notes that it is important to know that spinal pumps ease your pain, but do not treat underlying disorders or conditions. It is critical that you have an accurate diagnosis in order to have a pain pump be effective: You don’t want to mask symptoms of a problem that could become worse, so it is important to understand the causes of the pain. There are numerous methods that can be used to manage chronic back pain; a treatment like the spinal pain pump should only be used when more conservative treatments have failed to decrease your pain.
Physical Therapy and Medication
Physical therapy is one of the least invasive means of treating back pain, and so it should generally be your first option in situations where you are experiencing minor to moderate back pain that has not been specifically diagnosed. Prescription or over the counter oral medications can be used to supplement physical therapy as your doctor considers appropriate.
Other Forms of Medication
In some patients, medications that are not indicated for back pain (like antidepressants and anticonvulsants) can help with chronic pain. These medications have been linked to a decrease in neuropathic pain experiences. Of course, this course of treatment can only be attempted with a physician’s guidance.
Massage and Yoga
While the relief from massage and yoga may seem temporary, for some people regular use of these therapies can lead to a long-term decrease in back pain. With regular use, the muscles supporting your spine can become stronger, more flexible, and more relaxed, helping to relieve pain.
Spinal injections treat pain through much the same mechanism as a spinal pump, injecting pain medication at the site, but are of course less permanent. Doctors will frequently use spinal injections not only to treat localized back pain, but also to try to identify the underlying causes of the pain. The extent to which injections help ease pain can give your physician valuable information on the nature of your condition. Injections are preferred to treatment with oral medications as these work more quickly.
Treating Other Areas of the Body
Many people are shocked to discover that a pain they have been experiencing as back pain is actually being caused by a problem in another part of their body, such as the hips or feet. Identifying and treating the source of this pain can provide the best source of pain relief in these cases. This is another instance that underscores the importance of an accurate diagnosis from a physician like Dr. Kamson.
If you discover that your back problem is related to natural wear and tear that results from everyday use or from an old injury, you may be a candidate for regenerative therapy. These are not pain treatments. Instead, regenerative treatments like platelet-rich plasma therapy help encourage new cell growth and healing. The immediate result is not necessarily pain relief, but relief from pain can be the net result as your body repairs and replaces worn-out tissue.
If these kinds of therapies do not provide enough relief or a lasting solution, a spinal pain pump may be one option that you can pursue. Back pain that is related to structural damage to your spine, however, like vertebral compression fractures or a herniated disc, is better suited to intervention with minimally invasive spine surgery. When a physical issue like one of these is the source of your pain, it’s important to treat the problem, not only the symptom.