Skip to content

Pain Management: Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump

Font Size

Topic Overview

Pain medicine works better when the pain first starts, before it gets too bad. A patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump lets you give yourself intravenous (IV) pain medicine when you need it. This gives you more control of your pain relief.

The PCA pump contains your pain medicine. Usually that medicine is morphine, but other painkilling drugs are sometimes used. The pump is connected through a tube to a vein in your body. You press a button when you feel pain and the pump gives you a dose of medicine set by your doctor. You cannot give yourself too much medicine, because the pump will be set to prevent that.

Recommended Related to Pain Management

Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Chronic Pain?

No doubt about it -- plenty of us are suffering from chronic pain. More than 50 million Americans have some form of this malady, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. But having lots of company doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Chronic pain wears people down, causes fatigue and insomnia, and results in missed work and social isolation. What can you do if chronic pain is interfering with your life? Start by learning what you know -- and maybe don’t know -- about it with this true or...

Read the Take the Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Chronic Pain? article > >

PCA pumps are most often used in the hospital after surgery. The pump allows you to give yourself pain medicine after you wake up and as you recover from your operation. The pumps also are used by people who have very bad cancer pain. These pumps can often be used at home.

Some pumps are set to give you a small, constant flow of medicine. When you feel pain or are uncomfortable, you can press the button and receive an extra bit of medicine. Other pumps give you a set dose of your medicine only when you push the button.

Sometimes a family member or a friend may offer to press the button on the PCA pump for you. But you are the only person who should press the button. Only you know when you need more pain medicine in your body. If you're too sleepy to press the button, you don't need more medicine.

PCA pumps not only control pain but also have other benefits. People feel less anxious and depressed. They are not as sleepy, because they use less medicine. Often they are able to move around more. And they feel a greater sense of control over their own pain management.

A PCA pump works well to control pain, because you can give yourself medicine before the pain gets too bad. Being in control of your pain relief also helps you relax and deal with the pain better.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Pain Management: Patient-Controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump Topics

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
psoriasis
Does your kid have symptoms?
fruit drinks
Eat these to think better.
No gym workout
Moves to help control blood sugar.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
10 tips to look and feel good.
Close up of eye
12 reasons you're distracted.
Epinephrine Injection using Auto-Injector Syringe
Life-threatening triggers.
woman biting a big ice cube
Habits that wreck your teeth.
embarrassed woman
Do you feel guilty after eating?
pacemaker next to xray
Treatment options.
caregiver with parent
10 tips for daily life.
birth control pills
Which kind is right for you?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.