Intrathecal Pumps are devices used in the treatment of chronic pain. These pumps have shown to be relatively safe and effective in treating chronic back pain, cancer pain, neuropathic pain, and muscle spasticity. Intrathecal Pumps are an automated piece of equipment that are programmed to deliver medication through a small catheter.

The purpose of the pump is to deliver medication directly into the space between the spinal cord and the protective sheath surrounding the spinal cord. Because the Intrathecal Pumps delivers pain-relieving medication directly into the patient’s spinal fluid, there is the possibility that smaller doses of medication are required to gain relief.

Intrathecal Pump implants are usually considered when oral pain medications and other methods of pain control have been exhausted or proven ineffective.


With Intrathecal Pumps, a surgeon usually performs a trial intrathecal injection or implants a temporary intrathecal pump in the patient to determine if the medication works to begin with, and then decides if a pump is appropriate. If the patient derives at least 50-percent improvement in his or her symptoms, a permanent intrathecal pump is then implanted under the skin. Potential benefits of this therapy include reduction in pain, improved function in daily living, and lower medication doses. As with all therapies, the amount of pain relief will vary from person to person.


As expected with any surgical procedure, there is always a chance of side effects. Surgical complications are possible and can include infection, spinal fluid leak, and headache. Once the system is implanted, device complications may occur. Check with your physician to see if this procedure is right for you.

Patients should consult with their pain physician before receiving the procedure if they:

  • have an allergy to any anesthetic
  • are on blood-thinning medication
  • have an active infection
  • are pregnant

Check with your physician to see if the procedure is right for you.

Call for an Evaluation

Call our office to have one of our board certified physicians evaluate your condition. Our physicians specialize in pain management and offer many options for pain relief. Our phone number is (510) 582-8555.