The intrathecal pump has been used for years to relieve severe spasticity and chronic pain. For over 30 years, BHI has been managing intrathecal pumps in patients’ homes. Our nurses have extensive knowledge of the pump, medications, and potential complications to ensure that the patient has the best possible outcome.

The intrathecal pump delivers a small dose of medication directly into the spinal column to help with chronic pain and/or spasticity.

Many individuals have experienced great relief from utilizing the intrathecal pump system. After a successful trial to determine if the pump will be effective, the pump will be surgically implanted. The pump resembles, and is approximately the same size as, a hockey puck. It is usually placed in the right or left lower abdomen. A catheter is attached to the pump and tunneled around the person’s side to reach the spinal column. The catheter, which resembles a hollow piece of spaghetti, is secured into the intrathecal space in the spine. Both the pump and catheter are not visible by just looking at the skin. The whole system is completely implanted in the body.

The pump is programmed by a specific device to deliver medication as ordered by your managing physician. The medication will run continuously at a programmed rate from the pump reservoir through the catheter into the intrathecal space in the spine. The medications placed in the pump are used to treat symptoms of chronic pain and/or spasticity. As with any medication therapy, there are associated risks and potential side effects of the intrathecal medication delivery system. Please speak with your physician for more details.


The intrathecal pump delivery system can be used to treat many different diagnoses. Pain and Spasticity are 2 indications for an intrathecal pump. Below are the most common diagnoses that the intrathecal pump may be used for:

Spasticity Related

  • Spinal cord Injury (SCI)
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Pain Related

  • Osteoarthritis/Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer pain
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

As with any treatment option your medical doctor will determine if this treatment option is the right one for you. Not everyone with the above diagnoses will benefit from the Intrathecal Medication Delivery System.