An intrathecal pump, also known as a “pain pump,” is a method of giving medication directly to your spinal cord.
This intrathecal drug delivery system uses a small pump, placed under the skin of your abdomen, that delivers medication through a catheter to the area around your spinal cord – much like an epidural that women may have during childbirth. Because the medication is delivered directly to the spinal cord, your symptoms can be controlled with a much smaller dose than is needed with oral medication. This results in fewer side effects associated with oral medication, such as sleepiness, upset stomach, vomiting, and constipation.
The intrathecal pump is programmed to slowly release medication over a period of time.
It may also be programmed to release different amounts of medication at different times of the day. The intrathecal pump stores your prescription information into its memory. Your doctor can then review this information with the programmer. When the pump is empty, your doctor can easily refill it by inserting a needle through your skin and into the port at the top of the reservoir.