Drug delivery via a pain pump allows chronic pain patients to receive measured doses of pain medication through a catheter directly to the area surrounding the spinal cord or surgical site. Pain pump drug delivery utilizes a small pump surgically implanted under the skin near the abdomen to control chronic pain symptoms in patients who have already tried unsuccessfully to control pain with other types of analgesics.
The pain pump is especially designed for patients who suffer from spinal cord injury, cancer pain, joint pain, leg pain from the sciatic nerves that is uncontrolled by surgery, and other degenerative diseases that cause persistent, chronic pain. The pain pump delivers anesthetics such as lidocaine in high volumes to the surgical site to control pain. The pump includes a reservoir of medication and is about the size of a hockey puck.
Many patients using the pain pump who have had surgery to shoulder joints suffer from an extremely painful condition known as chondrolysis. Chondrolysis is characterized by a disintegration of the cartilage around the joint area. Patients who receive high doses of lidocaine directly into the shoulder joint usually experience problems with the cartilage surrounding the joint area. The cartilage surrounding the joint disintegrates in many pain pump patients receiving drug delivery to the joints, resulting in an extremely painful condition. Patients should exercise caution and weigh the risks and benefits when undertaking pain pump therapy.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices and Implants.