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Pain Pump Question

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Old 06-16-2006, 06:06 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 2
have_pain_pump HB User
Question Pain Pump Question

[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=2][COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Hi Everyone,

This is my first time here. I was reading the posts from some of you who have Intrathecal Pain Pumps. Very informative. I didn't realize there was one that didn't use a battery -- thus doesn't have to be replaced every 4-5 years.

I have had my pain pump for a little over 4 years. I'm a little concerned about how long I'll have to be off work when they replace it but even MORE concerned about some of the problems I'm having and uncertain whether they're related to the pump/medication or not.

I have morphine in my pump. What I've noticed though is that, since I've had the pump, I've had a lot of hair loss, tooth decay, bowel problems and trouble concentrating (sometimes unable to think of a certain word I want to use; trouble remembering names; etc).

Has anyone else with a pain pump experienced these type problems? I'd like to know if they're related to the pump or if it's just a sign I'm gettin' old (Recently turned 42)...

Can't wait to hear from y'all.... Thanks in advance for your help and letting me know of your experiences!

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Old 06-16-2006, 07:24 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Tucson az
Posts: 33
cactuslily HB User
Re: Pain Pump Question

Hi and welcome. I am also new here....lots of great info. The other pump I have referred to is made by Codman. It doesn't have programability like the Medtronix, but I hear lots of great things about them. Personally, I think their catheter is superior as it has a titanium coil unlike the Medtronix. Mine was placed last Sept. and I have had nothing but problems. My catheter is fractured renderring the pump useless right now and causing other issues with pain. Have you mentioned your side effects with your Dr.? As I don't know your underlying pathology, (why the pump was placed ) it is hard to say that the side effects are from the pump and not from your underlying problem. Are you on other meds as well orally? I personally have had a ton of tooth decay secondary to narcotics. The dry mouth is really hard on your teeth and can be made worse by the way you may combat it, like soda, gum etc.. are these issues new, and if so what if anything has changed? Diet? Meds? I would definately talk with your docs, and have them look into things. Blood work...Keep me posted. Also, I can't imagine the recovery time would be any different for re-placement than it was for placement...Good luck, keep us posted. Cactuslily

Old 06-17-2006, 03:34 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 2
have_pain_pump HB User
Post Re: Pain Pump Question

Hi Cactuslily,

Thanks for getting back to me. Another problem I have, that I forgot to mention (since getting the pain pump), is hair loss. Everytime I brush my hair, I loose at least 20+ hairs (not broken hair, but hair that comes out by the root)!

My primarily problem -- the reason I got the pain pump -- was because of Chronic Pain due to Lower Back Problems (Degenerative Disc Disease -- Disc Compression / Bulging).

The other meds I take are Elavil (at bedtime) and both Ultram & Oxycodone (on an as needed basis). Not having to take a lot of either.

I do have a problem with having a dry mouth. As a result, I always have a drink with me. Unfortunately, all I drink are soda's. To help minimize any tooth decay from those, I only drink them with a straw (trying to minimize the contact the soda has on my teeth). I have always drank sodas though... Even before I got my pain pump.... In fact, when I had the temporary catheter placed (for the pain pump trial), I had to stay overnight in the hospital. I brought sodas with me there also. Also, I had a bad headache after the temporary cather was placed (and, after getting to my room -- walking to the room, the nurse using the wheelchair to get all my belongings to my room -- I ended up with a spinal headache! I thought my head was going to explode!!! Really!!

Anyway... Before getting up and walking to my room, I had a headache that was made worse if I didn't keep the light out of my eyes (I've never had a "migraine"; this would be the closest thing to that). ANYWAY... The point I'm trying to get to (talking about the headache/spinal headache) is that, even while in recovery, I had the headache and the Dr. ordered an infusion of IV fluids and caffeine be given. It got rid of the headache. (I'm a nurse and had never heard of anyone receiving a caffeine drip/IV before...) To this day, I don't know if he did that because of my normal intake of caffeine or if it was specific to the headache I had because of the catheter placement... Never thought to ask...

So... I'm hoping that if anyone else has this pump & is experiencing similar problems, they will respond and I'll know why it's happening. I do go in for a pump refill next week and will ask about the side affects. The Dr. I'm now going to though is not the Dr. who originally placed the pump for me. (I have moved since then).

Thanks For Your Response & Taking The Time To Read My Post!!

Old 06-17-2006, 04:14 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Tucson az
Posts: 33
cactuslily HB User
Re: Pain Pump Question

Hi, I also had a spinal headache, but mine was post implantation. This lasted for almost a week. While it didn't occur to me prior to implantation that this could happen, I sure wish they would have told me. I too am an RN, and perhaps they assumed I would think of it, but when it is yourself, things can be overwhelming and you don't necessarily "think" like a RN. The dura takes about that long to seal. I was fine if I was flat, but as soon as I would elevate my head or walk around...OWWWW! My dentist,(I am now having total dental restoration) said that decay can be insidious, and spreads like wildfire. Can you switch to diet soda? That would really help. I personally couldn't tolerate the artificial "saliva" that you can get. It was disgusting! All I can equate it to, is rinsing your mouth with snot....I know, pretty gross!! It sounds like you have always had a lot of dry mouth even with small doses of narcotics. That and constipation, are 2 side effects that I suffer from the worst. Hair loss, while I have had it from other meds, I have never had it with pain meds, but anything is possible. Have you checked a PDR? Did you have any problems finding a new doc to take over your care when you moved? Are you generally happy with your pump? I honestly could never say it worked for me, so I am not sure if I am going to replace my catheter. They don't really know what long term problems could result from having a retained catheter, let alone 2 catheters.I hope you get some answers. Take care, cactuslily

Old 06-18-2006, 07:01 AM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 140
geifer HB User
Re: Pain Pump Question

Hi I am going on my third pump replacement in the fall. I have not found the second one they put in was any problem at all. I don't work outside the home but I do watch my granddaughters twice a week. The biggest thing was that I could not lift for two weeks. Other than that just took it easy until I healed. I had my first pump in 1997 and the second in 2001. I have a medtronic pump and have not had any problems with it. For dry mouth try diet soda, alot of bottled water with crystal light sugar free drinks. I have two cases of water and take a bottle or two every where I go. You get used to drink it so it isn't so bad. Floss and use a waterpick every night ( I sound like a dentist ) This has worked for me and talk to you doctor about the hair loss ( thyroid hereditary other reasons ) I found out I had low thyroid and hormone was my problem for hair loss. And I now medicate and all is well. The pain pump helped me get back some of my pleasures of life and living. I hope all works out well for you geifer

Old 06-18-2006, 09:55 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Steinhatchee,Fla. USA
Posts: 8
hurtin4sure HB User
Re: Pain Pump Question

I have had a Codman Pain pump since Dec 2004. It has gave me super relief from my degenerative disk disease, I also had a spinal fusion in L5-S1 in which the donor site on my hip got infected and had to be surgically cleaned out 7 days after the fusion operation. I seem to have had premature loss of teeth as well, why I don't know. I asked my dentists about it, he said it could be hereditary, the bacteria changes in your mouth, aging is part of tooth loss etc. He said he has seen people like me that go to the dentist religiously and loose teeth for no reason, and he sees people that have never been to a dentist and have no teeth problems. I expierience no hair loss, I do get a dry mouth at times, but it isn't really serious. I have nothing bad to say about my whole expierience with my Codman Pump, it gives me great relief while sometimes I do have to take some oral meds, but before the pump, I could not get enough pain meds to help the pain. Now it is very manageable, and I have a quality of life again, limited activity yes, but I will take it this way any day. Hope this helps.

Old 01-30-2011, 01:57 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sandusky, Ohio USA
Posts: 2
jamron158 HB User
Re: Pain Pump Question

First of all, YOU ARE NOT OLD! I'm not shouting, just stressing a point. My husband is 62 and has an internal pump. There is an adjustment curve that I believe varies for each individual, but there are some issues that we have both noticed, memory recall is one and extreme tiredness or the ability to sleep for 24/7 are just a couple. All in all the pain pump has saved my husbands life and we are VERY (not shouting) grateful!

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