Tags: baclofen | spasticity | pump | musclespasms | ms

Baclofen Pump Therapy: What Is It?

Tuesday, 08 April 2014 10:48 PM

Baclofen pump therapy is a procedure to inject drugs directly into the spinal fluid. Baclofen is a medicine to decrease spasticity associated with spinal cord injury, MS (multiple sclerosis), and other neurological diseases. Sporadic tightening of muscles, interfering with voluntary muscle movements, causes spasticity. Spasticity is a muscle disorder characterized by muscle spasms or stiffness. Patients with spasticity or those not responding well to oral medicine are advised baclofen pump therapy.
Baclofen therapy helps reduce involuntary muscle spasms and the pain or discomfort associated with muscle spasms. There are some side effects of this therapy. Side effects of baclofen therapy are sometimes difficult to distinguish from MS symptoms. It is better to consult the doctor to identify these.
Along with several other conditions, spasticity may occur following any injury to the spinal cord or brain. Severe spasticity can occur due to MS. Spasticity makes it difficult to coordinate or control movement due to involuntary twitching. Symptoms of spasticity vary, and it may differ based on the type or the level of injury. Even ordinary activities such as stretching or changing positions can cause spasticity.
Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms are common when muscles are stretched. As compared to spasticity, muscle spasms can be painful. Some muscle spasms are strong enough to interfere with daily physical activities. Muscle spasms occur more frequently in patients with spinal cord injuries. Muscle spasms can result from various reasons such as over stimulation of the muscles. Skin breakdown can also cause muscle spasms. Muscle spasms are also noticed when the body is exposed to a painful stimulant.
Procedure of Baclofen Pump Therapy
Baclofen pump therapy is the intrathecal route to deliver baclofen. MS patients suffering from severe spasticity use it. The equipment of baclofen pump therapy consists of a catheter and pump. The catheter is a small flexible tube with the pump being a round disc made of metal. The pump is around an inch thick and has a diameter of three inches. In the baclofen pump therapy, the pump is surgically placed under the abdominal skin near the waistline. Using the catheter, the prescribed amount of medicine stored in the pump is released. The pump is refilled by inserting a needle through the skin at the center of pump. The medicine is moved through the catheter using the tiny motor. An external programmer can adjust the timing, rate, and dose of the medicine. Patients must visit the doctor for refilling and adjusting their medicine every two to three months.

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