An intrathecal pain pump is a method of drug delivery directly aimed at the spinal fluid. A small pump, which is programmable and powered by the battery, is placed surgically under the abdomen’s skin and connected to a catheter burrowed to the place of spinal entry. The pump supplies medication through a catheter to the area around the spinal cord. Since the drug is given directly to the size of pain, it requires comparatively smaller doses than oral medicines, thus subsiding any side effects.


The fluid-filled space around the brain or spinal cord is called intrathecal space. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) flows around this area, protecting the brain and the spinal cord. Since the pump delivers medicine directly into CSF, the intrathecal drug pump proves to be more efficient than oral medication and takes about 1/300 times the oral dose to treat pain.
The implantation of the catheter in the spinal cord’s intrathecal space is followed by the surgical placement of the pump beneath the subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen. The drug is put inside a hollow space, called a reservoir, inside the pump. The pump releases timely medication as per its programming. The pump’s programming is done based on the need for medication at different times of the day. When the pump runs out of medicine, it is refilled by inserting a needle through the skin into the reservoir’s fill port.

Types of Intrathecal Pain Pump:

  • Fixed-Rate Pain Pumps or Mechanical Pumps

They work using a gas chamber and delivers a continuous amount of drug at a constant flow rate.

  • Variable Rate Pain Pumps or Battery-Operated Pumps

They are programmable, so that amount and time of dosing are adjusted as per the candidate’s needs and schedule.

Pain Pumps Relieve Pain Best for Patients with:

  • Chronic pain
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Chronic pancreatic
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Causalgia
  • Arachnoiditis

Pain Pumps Help Lessen Spasticity Caused By:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury