HELP! Pain pump vs Spinal Stimulator

Vahn Community Member October 25, 2007
  • Can anyone tell me pros and cons for each?

     

    My wife has had chronic back pain for 12 years now, pain that starts in mid spin and radiates down her legs, specifically her right. Everything from accupuncture, pain meds, to hydrocortizone injectiontions have been attempted to help with the pain with little or no avail.

     

    Her current doctor, #9 in the long list, says she has osteoperosis, bulging disks, degenerative back disease yadda yadda.... and has talked my wife into having a pain pump installed. So, for 6 months now we have investigated all the pros and cons of having such a device installed. This was due to happen this Thursday Oct. 25.

     

    Here is the catch... while going through prescreening process, the doctors assistant informs my wife @ 6pm the night before the device is to be implanted, that she will not be getting the pain pump, but would be getting the spinal stimulator. She currently has a Bladder Stimulator installed and has had nothing but problems with it. Every 7 seconds the electric pulse that is generated draws the toes of her right foot up, has had numberous infections of the bladder due to the device and can't stand the "electric shock" feeling it generates to her nervous system.

     

    Keeping an open mind, we rushed home, did internet research and called every person we know with questions. I have come across very little encouraging information that has permitted me from keeping quiet about my concerns with this. Needless to say, we have cancelled the surgery that was due to take place 3 hours ago.

     

    Can anyone PLEASE help with some kind of input here.

     

     

19 Comments
  • DAWN
    Jan. 08, 2011

    I HAVE HAD THE SCS FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS. WHAT I HAVE FOUND IS THAT IT IS NOT A CURE BUT A MANAGMENT PROCESS FOR MY PAIN. YES ITS NOT PERFECT BUT IT HAS GIVEN SOME OF MY LIFE BACK.THE PROBLEMS I HAVE FOUND IS THAT I DO HAVE TURN MY SELF OFF TO FEEL THE REAL BAD PAIN AND WHEN I TURN MY SELF BACK ON IT DOES GIVE ME SOME COMFORT. I ALSO HAVE TO TURN MY SELF...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I HAVE HAD THE SCS FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS. WHAT I HAVE FOUND IS THAT IT IS NOT A CURE BUT A MANAGMENT PROCESS FOR MY PAIN. YES ITS NOT PERFECT BUT IT HAS GIVEN SOME OF MY LIFE BACK.THE PROBLEMS I HAVE FOUND IS THAT I DO HAVE TURN MY SELF OFF TO FEEL THE REAL BAD PAIN AND WHEN I TURN MY SELF BACK ON IT DOES GIVE ME SOME COMFORT. I ALSO HAVE TO TURN MY SELF OFF TO HAVE A BM AS IT DOES INTEFERE WITH THAT END OF THINGS. I ALSO HAVE TO IN THE WINTER CHANGE MY SETTINGS AND TURN MY SELF UP VERY HIGH. I TOOK A FALL ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO WHEN I HAD A VERY BAD PAIN SPASM AND MOVED ONE OF MY CONNECTIONS IN MY SPINE THE BEST ONE OF COURSE. SO NOW I AM WITH ONLY 2 THAT WORK NOIT THE BEST 2 .

    THE PUMP WAS A DISATER FOR ME AS MY BODY DOES NOT DO WELL WITH DRUGS AS MOST (A) BLOOD PEOPLE KNOW. I HAVE ALSO FOUND THAT MEDITATION AND A ORGANIC DIET REALLY HELP. I HAVE GONE FOR 3 COLONICS THAT FOR SOME REASON HELP THE PAIN FOR SOME TIME TO BAD OUR MEDIACL DOES NOT COVER IT AS IT IS COSTLY. BUT I DO NOTICE WHEN MY BODY IS CLEAN MY PAIN IS BETTER NOT 100% BETTER BUT BETTER. I HAVE ALSO NOTICED OVER THE YEARS THAT EVEN TURNED OFF I CARRY A HUGE AMOUNT OF ELECTRIC CHARGE TO THE POINT I DO SHOCK PEOPLE. BUT MOST OF ALL KEEP A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR AND LIFE IS  WHAT IT IS ......IT COULD ALLWAYS BE WORSE. 

  • Anonymous
    Gary Tietjen
    Feb. 21, 2008
    If you have a spinal stimulator put in, you can never have an MRI since there is some steel there. You may need that MRI sometime.
  • cheshirecat
    Nov. 23, 2007
    I'm wondering what your wife decided to do? Please update.
  • Anonymous
    margaret devries
    Nov. 14, 2007

    I have had two failed back surgeries have 2 fusions,bone grafts, rods put in and it is worse! also Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and I have Neuropathy nerves on feet especially left one which is very painful...

    when I got to see the only Dr here that does the pump surgery, he offered me both,take my pick, i had good, if limited  use with tens unit so I went...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have had two failed back surgeries have 2 fusions,bone grafts, rods put in and it is worse! also Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia and I have Neuropathy nerves on feet especially left one which is very painful...

    when I got to see the only Dr here that does the pump surgery, he offered me both,take my pick, i had good, if limited  use with tens unit so I went with the stimulater...

    Recovery after surgery was rough! nearly two years later I still haven't a clue about all the mumbojumbo the machine does? and the pain relief is about 25% very discouraging....

    I am one of those people that pain medicines do not work well on....I have been on everything!! literally!!

    and none work to eleminate pain much...the machine is all I have and I hate it!!

  • cheshirecat
    Nov. 11, 2007
    I can't believe you were getting a pump and the Dr. was going to change it to a SCS. You were very wise at not jumping into this surgery and device. You are supposed to undergo a trial with the SCS device before it is implanted. I did this, unfortunately it was very hard to tell if it did much during the trial and still being on pain meds. I eventually...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I can't believe you were getting a pump and the Dr. was going to change it to a SCS. You were very wise at not jumping into this surgery and device. You are supposed to undergo a trial with the SCS device before it is implanted. I did this, unfortunately it was very hard to tell if it did much during the trial and still being on pain meds. I eventually got the SCS implanted. It really did not help much. It is somewhat annoying and if you don't like tingleing or vibrating DO NOT get this device, as that is what it does to block the pain. Mine was on my back hip area and if you ever bump the spot where it is inserted it hurts like a @#%#$@! I have friends that have had pain pumps for years. They help them but the meds have to be tweeked and adjusted to get it to work right. You need a good Dr. and a good relationship with  one that believes you and will deal with adjustments and give you more if you need it. If you wish to speak to them, email me back and I can put you in touch. The pump is a big deal, a major step and should be the last thing you do. I have avoided one, (Thank God!) and have had better pain relief with Duragesic patches and Norco for breakthough pain. I wish you the best of luck. These are hard questiions to answer but you are doing the right thing by asking us in the pain community as we will give it to you straight. Carla cheshirecat2@comcast.net
  • sara
    Nov. 04, 2007

    I have a spinal stimulator, made by Medtronic. It was put in in 2000. I was screened, saw a video and had a temp. one put in to see if it helped. Then had a perminant one put in. I fell once and jerked the wires out and had a battery replaced. It does not help much now. I am on morphine 300mg, tid, now. It was great while it lasted, however can't sleep...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have a spinal stimulator, made by Medtronic. It was put in in 2000. I was screened, saw a video and had a temp. one put in to see if it helped. Then had a perminant one put in. I fell once and jerked the wires out and had a battery replaced. It does not help much now. I am on morphine 300mg, tid, now. It was great while it lasted, however can't sleep on my back unless it is off, because it really vibrates. Mine is for neuropathic pain in the left leg. Mine is placed close to the left hip, in the front. It was an easy surgical procedure. I went home several hours afterwards. What does her neurosurgeon think ?

    Sara Bardsley

    Texas City, Texas

  • beauverre
    Nov. 03, 2007
    Hi. I have had both. The stimulator three times because of problems with the catheter staying in place and then mechanical problems and just not being effective after a while as my condition worsened. I have had the pump installed twice. The first time in June of this year and the second 3 weeks ago.Oct 11th. The surgery from the stimulator was a MUCH easier...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Hi. I have had both. The stimulator three times because of problems with the catheter staying in place and then mechanical problems and just not being effective after a while as my condition worsened. I have had the pump installed twice. The first time in June of this year and the second 3 weeks ago.Oct 11th. The surgery from the stimulator was a MUCH easier recovery. As someone else wrote, they aim for a 50% decrese in pain More than that would be an added bonus. The pump does succeed in making the pain bearable. There is a lot of maintanence and the needle stuck in you abdomen to refill the pump isn't the most enjoyable ethier.There are also side effects from the morphine. Plus I stilll have to take pain meds and muscle relaxers.I have two frieds who also have the pump.From my experience they don't do a pump untill other things such as the stimulater have failed.I wasn't recovered from the first pump implant when they had to redo it three months later so think seriously before jumping into this. It's not an easy solution and sometimes we have to accept that we will never be pain free, just enjoy the good (or not as bad) days when they come.I hope she will try the stimulater first. There are many people that greatly benefit from it. It's a long road. I hope she receives some relief from her pain soon.If you want to ask anything else about my experiences with ethier, please do.
  • Anonymous
    Betty Guindon
    Nov. 02, 2007

    Dear Vahn

     

    First of all, WOW! I must commend you in your support of your wife.  I've a supportive husband, but I cannot even imagine he striking out on the net to try and find answers to my pain problems. 

    I'm not personally very knowledgable about pain pumps & Electro stimulators, as I've only done a slight amount of research for...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Dear Vahn

     

    First of all, WOW! I must commend you in your support of your wife.  I've a supportive husband, but I cannot even imagine he striking out on the net to try and find answers to my pain problems. 

    I'm not personally very knowledgable about pain pumps & Electro stimulators, as I've only done a slight amount of research for myself and my pain mgt doc shot me down and said I had not been suffering long enough for such devices.

    But I also belong to a online group called Pain Aid and they have had numerous discussions with actual people that have used both these types of treatments and if you don't find what your looking for here, then you might try their online community message board to be of some help for your reseach of these topics.

    http://discuss.painfoundation.org/ 

    Hope they can help you with this very important decision.

    Please give your wife my best!

    Betty

  • Anonymous
    B.M.Luklinski
    Nov. 02, 2007

    Dear Sir ,

    Your wife chronic spinal condition is a typical reflection of clinical incompetence in USA.You has not been seen by a spinal Specialist and diagnosed expertly ,no wonder problem continues.Recommened stimulator is symptomatic therefore 100% ineffective useless,like any surgery.Please contac me and I will assist .

    rgds,

    B.M.Luklinski(Mr)

    www.sciaticasociety.org...

    Read More

    Dear Sir ,

    Your wife chronic spinal condition is a typical reflection of clinical incompetence in USA.You has not been seen by a spinal Specialist and diagnosed expertly ,no wonder problem continues.Recommened stimulator is symptomatic therefore 100% ineffective useless,like any surgery.Please contac me and I will assist .

    rgds,

    B.M.Luklinski(Mr)

    www.sciaticasociety.org

    London.UK  

  • Indiana Stan
    Nov. 02, 2007

    Pain pump stops the pain! A stimulator might stop your pain but you'll have a trade off, no pain for a "tinleling" feeling. I helped my Pain Doctor with his web site. He is an Anesthesiologist as well. www.advancedpainmanagemt.info  That's my wife and I on the page. Complete info on the pump and stimulator.

    Stan

    • Anonymous
      Marcus Williamson
      Nov. 02, 2007

      Dear Indiana Stan,

       

      What is the complete URL of the website you listed? I typed in the one that was shown on ChronicPainConnection and IE explorer says that "no page exists"!

       

      I want the pump, but all my docotrs want me to do the stimulator!!  I for one don't like the tingling feeling that is a tradeoff for the pain!!  When I...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Dear Indiana Stan,

       

      What is the complete URL of the website you listed? I typed in the one that was shown on ChronicPainConnection and IE explorer says that "no page exists"!

       

      I want the pump, but all my docotrs want me to do the stimulator!!  I for one don't like the tingling feeling that is a tradeoff for the pain!!  When I got my TENS unit many years back, I could not wear it because I did not like the electric tingling I felt while wearing it, therefore, I only wore it 4 or 5 times before I shelved the whole unit!!  As it is me, and my body, do I not get to pick which one that I want impanted in me??  It seems that I hear every kind of excuse from doctors that I have been seeing to not impant the pump, but want me to have the stimulater impant!  I don't want the tingle feeling, I want complete pain releif, and it seems to me the pump would provide that!  Any thoughts or insights you could provide me would be very helpful!!  By the way, I live in the Atlanta, Ga. area, but would travel to another state to get a pain pump if I had to do so as a last resort!!  Please contact me, and let me know what your experience was with the pump, and the doctors you had to deal with! 

       

      Sincerely,

      Marcus Williamson

       

      babarumraisen@hotmail.com

    • simmonsgrad03
      Nov. 03, 2007

      First, you are totally unrealistic if you believe you will have "complete pain relief".   The pump does not provide that. I have had both a spinal cord stim and currently a pump. THey aim for 50% reduction in pain.  The reason I have a pump is of muliple complications from the stim.  I would prefer the stim as...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      First, you are totally unrealistic if you believe you will have "complete pain relief".   The pump does not provide that. I have had both a spinal cord stim and currently a pump. THey aim for 50% reduction in pain.  The reason I have a pump is of muliple complications from the stim.  I would prefer the stim as it has much less side effects and maintaince.  As there are 2 types of pain - one caused by nerves, and the other functional (like a broken bone or arthritis). Each type of pain responds better to pumps or stimulators.  Your physicans may feel your type of pain may respond better to a certain therapy.   Each one of these therapies need a pre-trial first, before anyone will place in you.  They are temporary (external), to see if they will work for you.  The pump trial requires an inpatinet stay.  Please be open to the different types of therapy being offered, you never know what may help.  You should all so consider going to a multi - disciplinary Pain practice.  They will have OT, PT, interventional pain and medication managment, and psychological services; which you cannot have a pump or a stim put in with out the psycho evaluation.  Pain is not a simple just put in a pump.  A pump requires you to be close to the practice as there are mulitple adjustments, medication changes, and medication fills.  The pump all so has medication side effects, you are not free from them.  Last of all, I do not think a physician out of state will take you on, because of the maintaince of the pump.  Look for a teaching hospital pain clinic, they are most likely to have the  multi disciplinary clinic support that is needed to live with chronic pain.

       

    • Anonymous
      Kim Beaty
      Dec. 19, 2009

      Dear Mr. Williamson,

       

        I had to travel from Colorado to Houston Texas. After all the red tape, I recently got the pain pump. so far... and I have not had any adjustments yet, I have dropped 3 of the 4 doses of 20mg oxycontin a day, and 2 of 4 doses of magnecet 10/400. I will go in for my first minor increase in 5 days. I can tell a HUGE difference...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Dear Mr. Williamson,

       

        I had to travel from Colorado to Houston Texas. After all the red tape, I recently got the pain pump. so far... and I have not had any adjustments yet, I have dropped 3 of the 4 doses of 20mg oxycontin a day, and 2 of 4 doses of magnecet 10/400. I will go in for my first minor increase in 5 days. I can tell a HUGE difference in the nerve pain from my back. I have degenerative disk disease and my cord in compressed in  5 places. 4 in the thoracic and 1 in the lumbar. they also say I have a failed fusion syndrome in my neck, where I was fused from c-4-5-and 6, in 2003. I am still having some pain in my neck, but none in the middle or much in the lower. My joints still hurt, my ankles, knee's , shoulders and elbows. other than that, I am not groggy, and tend to want to over do as I feel now at 60% + better. Houston is better known as one of the medical capitols of the world. So far, I have been pleased. We had just become full time RV ers and I couldn't travel with the pain. i am on disability and had worked as a Paramedic for nearly 30 years. So , we hooked up the ole fifth wheel. Came to Green Caye RV  Park, best for the money.... 370 a month and that includes water, electric even in the hot summer, and your lawn is mowed, and every thing is surrounded by a white picket fence. lovely park. We are not golf players, but Green Caye has a large golf course. It is situated in the county and not dead set in Houston. all my care I have gotten from real close by.   Hope this helps. Kim

    • Anonymous
      Lynda Powers
      Nov. 27, 2007

      Thank you for your story. I tried to go on your website but it says it does not exist. I tried more than once. Are you sure it's posted correctly?

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Nov. 27, 2007
    • Anonymous
      Josh Nowaczyk
      May. 01, 2008

      I have crsd, starting ra in my left ankle, swollen arthritis throughout my joints, and I am in need of help.  Given I had lost my job from not being able to do my current position, I had lost my insurance as well.  So I don't know if spinal or pumps would be in my budget right now, however I am in need of relief.  What is your cost for an initial...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I have crsd, starting ra in my left ankle, swollen arthritis throughout my joints, and I am in need of help.  Given I had lost my job from not being able to do my current position, I had lost my insurance as well.  So I don't know if spinal or pumps would be in my budget right now, however I am in need of relief.  What is your cost for an initial patient review?

       

      How soon would you be able to accept new patients?

       

      Sincerely,

       

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Nov. 02, 2007

    I'm a physical therapist who specializes in orthopaedic therapy and pain management.  Please have her get checked by a good orthopaedic PT before having any more procedures.

     

    Steer clear of large chain rehabs, and find a private practice clinic that offers orthopaedic manual therapy.  Even if she's had PT before, OMT is totally different...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I'm a physical therapist who specializes in orthopaedic therapy and pain management.  Please have her get checked by a good orthopaedic PT before having any more procedures.

     

    Steer clear of large chain rehabs, and find a private practice clinic that offers orthopaedic manual therapy.  Even if she's had PT before, OMT is totally different than the typical "Treat Your Own Self" type of therapy practiced in the chain and/or hospital settings.

     

    Best of luck,

    Maribeth Salge, MA, PT, ATC, CSCS, RCEP 

  • Bill
    Oct. 29, 2007

    I had a pain pump implanted last week.  I had fusion in 2001 and maybe have a slightly more complicated physical condition.  However, pain is pain.  My surgeon who did the fusion told me it is difficult to get a good MRI of your spine after the stimulator is implanted.  I moved forward for the pump with that info.

    The pump surgeries...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I had a pain pump implanted last week.  I had fusion in 2001 and maybe have a slightly more complicated physical condition.  However, pain is pain.  My surgeon who did the fusion told me it is difficult to get a good MRI of your spine after the stimulator is implanted.  I moved forward for the pump with that info.

    The pump surgeries are not easy and I have heard from a few that the stimulator is not nearly as invasive.  Plus, if your doctor is taking the right steps he/she should be doing a test for the stimulator before implanting it.  I heard from a friend that this really helped her to know it would help in the long run.  She has had improvement but no magic wand.

    I am having much improved pain management but healing from the two operations to implant pump is delaying my long run opinion.

    best of luck - find a good Dr,

    Bill

  • natgurule
    Oct. 26, 2007

     The stimulator will not do much good with that type of damage,especially since she's had it for such a long time..

     I was all set for a pain pump had all the tests done did my research, in the hospital for 4 days while they figured out what drug and what starting dose.Got ok from insurance. This was late Nov.2005,didn't want...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

     The stimulator will not do much good with that type of damage,especially since she's had it for such a long time..

     I was all set for a pain pump had all the tests done did my research, in the hospital for 4 days while they figured out what drug and what starting dose.Got ok from insurance. This was late Nov.2005,didn't want to be laid up during Christmas,so it was going to be put in after the new year..Now for the kicker insurance dropped me last day of nov.,but didn't tell me until the day before my surgery. Told me I could appeal,but that's a laugh because they wanted me dropped and there was no way they were going to give it back.

      Sorry for going on. Has she had any trials with either device. My doctor made me try both of them and then decide.

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