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Pump or Stimulation???

May 12, 2015 9:11 PM

I had my first pain mgmt evaluation yesterday. I have disc herniation between T2 and T3 with minimal bulging throughout the thoracic spine. I also have dextroconvex scoliosis centered on T5. Needless to say, the pain patch (Fentanyl) and Norco 10/325 4 times a day is no longer working. After going the conservative route to make the HMO happy, I will be getting either a pain pump or internal stimulation. I'm researching these two procedures. I'm not sure which one to go with. I'm looking for any information I can get from those of you who've gone through these first hand. Which works best? TENS drove me nuts; so I'm wondering if I'd be better off with the pump.

May 16, 2015 4:01 AM

The one thing I will say about the tens is that I don't think doctors explain it or send people for training on it. So many people put it on the pain site. That will only aggravate it. The science behind it is that you are to put the pads before the pain site twards the brain. The brain can only get so many signals at one time. So it is made to block the pain signals. Used this way has brought me relief. When I originally used it the other way, it really aggravated me. But then I read about it. And it has helped me since. But I have somehow lost my tens unit and need to buy another one. I do miss it. I just thought I would pass along this note just in case you didn't know. I am sure with being a pain sufferer, you probably do. But it might help someone else.

May 16, 2015 9:50 AM

Medical products online I bought a great combo Tens unit and e-stim for around 50.00. The website said they would ask for a prescription but never did. I had a physical therapis help me with the settings.

May 16, 2015 10:52 AM

That is good. I hope it helped you. Like I said, a lot of people don't get the relief because they don't know what the process is. And it is good for a physical therapist to point out where those specific nerves are that go to the sit that is bothering you. But you are pretty safe putting it a few inches before your pain in between the pain site and your brain.. I enjoy talking to you LMB

May 16, 2015 11:01 AM

My pain management physician wanted to Test if a stimulator would help me or not and they do a temporary partial implant for a two week trial phase. The fact that a indwelling device was going to be partially inserted in my spinal colum (and the rest of the lead and stimulator box would be taped to my back) and I worked inside an operating room scared the crap out of me. I scrubbed cases where my patients have HIV, Hep-C and C-diff. I have actually scrubbed both of these procedures also. After speaking with multiple respected surgeons I respectfully declined. Also found a pain management doctor not so quick to want to cut and I am just taking it one day at a time. Because of my 19 inches of metal fused in my T- spine I was urged not to do a stimulator. I know plenty of people with both stimulators and/or pain pumps. Most of the pump patients are happy that they take far less oral medication but you will have to have device refilled at some point. The stimulator group is more mixed results. Some say it is amazing some say not so much. Of co

May 16, 2015 1:33 PM

I like the tens unit but I dont think I would want a stimulator. I have heard of peoples batteries shorting and them being shocked all the way to the hospital. That would freak the crap out of me know that could happen if I had one of those in me.

Can someone tell me what a pain pump is? It sounds really interesting. I would really like to know.

May 16, 2015 1:54 PM

A pain pump in an implanted catheter that delivers a smaller dose of medication to your spinal colum. You use less medication because it does not have to be delivered through your whole body and processed in your liver before it gets to your pain center in your brain. That is a very generic version. You can go to the Web and look up more info. Medtronic, Boston Scientific and I believe St. Jude manufacturer them. As far as stimulators they really do not short out and shock you. The patient has a strong magnet that they can place over the device just like a pacemaker or defibrillator and they can turn it off. That statement is not entirely true for defibrillators. So fellow medical professionals don't jump me for my generic statement. This is not the place for me to go into a cardiology lecture.

May 16, 2015 2:25 PM

I guess whatever happened to my friend is when they were newly out. Something went wrong with the battery and it was zapping her and she had 200 miles to the center who handled it. The remote wouldn't work when this happened. But this was nearly fifteen to twenty years ago.

May 16, 2015 6:14 PM

ANY ER can change the programming. There are ALWAYS company representatives on call 24/7.

May 16, 2015 6:40 PM

I think the stimulator works a bit differently from the tens so it might not be a far comparison. I know for me I have pain in so many places the TENS just wasn't practical or lasting but I have used it very successfully for other issues including nausea very successfully. They are available on line as someone pointed out and depending on how fancy a unit you want they can be purchased for as little as $20. I find the idea of having anything inserted in my spine and left there just too frightening and creepy but I think a major factor for me would be how big and weighty whatever I needed to Cary around would be. What is the pack that carries the medication like for the pump and the controller or whatever is needed for the stimulator and how does that compare as well as whatever is imbedded and where. I'm sure you have tried it all and while I'm familiar with Fentanyl patch (I wear one) I have never heard of the other medication you mentioned and didn't even know they made the patches mixed with something but have you explored a different schedule and or strength? For instance I apply a new patch every 2.5 days rather than the usual 3 and it's been suggested I try every 2 days, the object as you know being to keep a level amount in your system to avoid the ups and downs.

The other thing you might look into trying if you haven't already is acupuncture, I think I've heard it can be very helpful for disk issues, I know it works wonders for joints and some headaches from personal experience.

I have also heard more and more about how effective Cannabis is for pain but I don't know enough about what forms work best for what types of pain. I just know that it can be used very effectively without smoking or including the hallucinogenic properties we are most familiar with and think about when talking about it. It might be worth some research anyway, I plan to learn more about it myself.

Having to think about and resort to the next level especially as they become such large drastic steps with each increase in our pain management is so difficult in so many ways including emotionally, I know this must be a hard time for you, the very need means your not able to control the pain well enough, I'm sorry your going through it but you have some back up here. You aren't alone and good for you being so proactive and getting all the input you can. Being in the medical field can be both a blessing and a curse when dealing with your own major health issues!

May 16, 2015 6:58 PM

I have started using a home tens unit recently and have decided that it is the best thing since sliced bread at this point for me. Getting ready to schedule an appointment with pain management soon(hopefully this coming week) to move forward with cortisone. The unit that I purchased is the icy hot smart therapy unit and that gives me just the amount of relief that I need.

May 17, 2015 11:18 AM

My TENS unit works well for distracting me from the pain and for muscle confusion when I am having spasms. One problem for me is if I place the contacts adjacent to my stomach it makes me nauseous...

May 17, 2015 8:41 PM

Moonrabitzmom, I have a Tens unit. I've also had the e-stim in PT. I've done well with both. But once I put the pads to close to the pain site and I hurt for two days. I don't know anything about the internal stimulator or pain pump. But if the tingling from the Tens bothered you then the internal stimulator might also. Talk with your doctor and others who can help answer if it might or not. I'll keep you in my prayers. 🙏🌼

Jul 13, 2015 10:50 AM

I have a pain pump and I can tell you it has been a GOD SEND!! Either way you go weather it be a pain pump or stimulator there will be a trial period. That way you can make an informed decision. Mine has been working so well. If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact me.

Jul 13, 2015 9:45 PM

I have a Stimulator. I can tell you that it had been revised 5 times and currently I have a non-working unit in my spine. It is so deeply scarred in at my brain stem that they can't remove it because it would paralyze me. It worked wonderfully, when it worked, however being in my cervical spine, it was not really a perfect science (what really is?) and it didn't work all the time or it didn't work the same all the time. I'd love to have it replaced and they could put another one in below where the other one is but the thought of it not helping me makes me leary of even trying. I hope whatever you decide, it works well for you and that you can get your life back together. All the best!! 💕

Oct 21, 2015 1:48 AM

I just recently (July) had a pain pump implanted. If anyone has one, I'd look forward to chatting. As for the original post on this thread, I can answer any questions about how the pump is put in and how it works. But I'm so new to having one, I can't speak about benefit just yet.

Oct 21, 2015 8:43 AM

I was suggested also by my pain management to do the stimulator and I have heard many people say that it has helped them al lot. I am going to do the two week trial which I think is great to do before you make a full committed decision. I just had surgery as well for 4 herniated discs in the cervical spine it I still have to deal with that pain and the fibromyalgia pain so what harm can the trial do.

Oct 23, 2015 8:58 AM

Hilda, just a word from my experience so you are not disappointed. I had the neurostimulator placed in my cervical spine and because it's such a mobile area, it's difficult to maintain a constant contact of the leads to give you the stimulation you require sometimes. Unfortunately it's not a perfect science. I had it done and had 5 revisions due to the leads shorting out or breaking. Then they implanted a permanent lead and it was great for a bit and then I fell down the stairs, broke my elbow, my neck and the implant!! I have so much scar tissue and wires, etc. in my neck that they can't remove it and can't replace it without the possibility of paralyzing me. I hope and pray that you have a positive result with your implant and that it gives you some much needed relief. Sending prayers your way.🌻🙏🏻

Oct 26, 2015 5:22 AM

I am one of those patients with the spinal cord stimulators and in trial it worked great, but after they put it in for good..........
I hated it! !!!! It has been a living nightmare. It doesn't help at all and won't work 99% of the time, I have had so many repositioning surgeries to try to get it working but it's all been for nothing. I now have had it in my body since 2004 and it's not worked even a full month since it's been in. I will warn anyone who is thinking of getting it put in to do more research on it.

Oct 26, 2015 6:12 AM

See, hearing AlwayZ & Irishgirl stories, and other's... I'm not game for having one put in. I'm the typical negative reaction patient! Lol🙏🌼

Oct 26, 2015 7:24 AM

A good friend of mine had one put in and it worked for a whole week then it slipped out ( they had to leave the site open where they had cut her open) and they did another surgery to put it back it and again work for like a week then it shorted out and is having problems to this day because of it. I would do a lot of research on something like this.

Oct 26, 2015 10:19 AM

When you say stimulation are you referring to a tens unit or the spinal cord stimulator that they implant inside your body?

Oct 26, 2015 10:40 AM

I am on my 2nd pain pump now. The first one I had for its full life. Before I had it I was taking large doses of methadone and moraphene and still could barely get out of bed. The only bad thing I can say about the pain pump is it may take a little time to find the right dosage and strength on meds to go in it. Right now I go in every 3 months for a refill. For a refill all they do is put a needle in my belly and into the pump pull out the old and put in the new. If there are any other questions about the pain pump I will do my best to answer them. But with my experience my pump at least I am able to get out of bed. I do still take oral meds for breakthrough pain but near as much as I was.

Oct 26, 2015 11:14 AM

Anonymous, the implant is what I'm referring to, and I think everyone else. But I may be wrong. 🙏🌼

Oct 26, 2015 11:32 AM

No, you're correct. It's the implanted stimulator

Oct 26, 2015 12:33 PM

Same here, I am referencing to the implemented stimulator.

Oct 26, 2015 1:44 PM

I just went thru the SCS trial and loved it. I am awaiting my actual implant. It didn't fully take the pain away but helped a lot! I can not stand the TENS anymore so I was skeptical but it is a totally different feeling. I don't like having to take pain pills so I am hoping that this will take care of the pain enough that I can deal with it. I wouldn't want to do a pain pump, personally.

Oct 26, 2015 2:36 PM

Okay, i didn't want to go down that road. I'm leary of having things implanted in my body. Lol it's good that they do a trial first. The way the doctor at Standord explained it to me sounded too much. He said most people love it some can't stand the sensation going down their legs. I am one of those people that if there is a negative side effect I will have it. Maybe it's the power of suggestion? I hope that whatever MoonRabbitzmom decides it's the best decision for them. Praying for healing and pain free days or lite pain for all of us! ✌️💜

Oct 29, 2015 4:48 AM

Can someone explain how the pain pump works to me and how it's implanted what it does and everything. My doctors want me to get the implant and now I'm kinda freaking put honestly. Like kinda crying that they want to do this. It sounds so scary. Could I bring up the pain pump to my doctor maybe? I justreally wanna know more about if

Oct 29, 2015 6:44 AM

Jenna, the pump is much like the stimulator in the way it is implanted. The main body of the implant has a tank in it that hold morphine or other drugs that are delivered directly into the spinal canal. They need to be refilled anywhere from monthly to every three months and it's done by putting a needle into the implant and filling it with your medication. You still need meds for breakthrough pain but it is supposed to help. I met a woman last month that has one and she had to have 4 revision due to it moving and/or breaking. Everyone has their own individual experiences. When I had my trial is was wonderful, when I got the implant it was a nightmare that lasted several years with little relief and 5 surgeries I didn't want to have to go through. I hope you find the answers you need. It is scary and a very personal and individual decision to make. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best.{{{{Hugs}}}} and prayers your way.🌻🙏🏻

Oct 30, 2015 12:46 AM

Alwayzinpain - how did you know the pump wasn't working? Mine worked great at first, but now my pain has returned. I told the doctor I wasn't sure if it was still working and he's chalking it all up to I'm still figuring out my treatment dosage that's best for me. I just can't be sure if it's still working, if anything maybe only a little. I just don't know. My foot hurts so bad I can't stand on it, yet they're telling me I need to be up walking and exercising. My answer is I'd like to see them exercise in this much pain! Any time I have to walk across the room, I have tears come to my eyes. It's exhausting!

Oct 30, 2015 9:35 AM

I hope you can get this figured out DCMomInPainOuch. It's got to be frustrating. Hugs! 🙏🌼

Oct 30, 2015 9:37 AM

I didn't have the pump, I had the neurostimulator. The doctor wants to do the pump but after all the problems I had, I don't want to go through it again. I hope they find the correct dosage to help you, it does take time. Feel better.🌻🙏🏻

Oct 31, 2015 11:23 AM

Sorry, I was confused. I've run into several people who've tried the stimulator, but I still haven't gotten in touch with anyone who had a pump. It's kind of frustrating not knowing someone that I can talk to to find out if something is normal or not. I feel like the doctor is taking me less seriously. That is frustrating too.

Oct 31, 2015 11:28 AM

Ask the doctor to put you in touch with a patient or two that he has implanted pumps in so you can ask them about their experiences. There must be others that he can hook you up with to help you make a more educated decision. I'm sorry you're having such difficulty. Sending you gentle {{{Hugs}}} and you'll be in my prayers. 🙏🏻🌻

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