According to the CDC, about 50 million Americans live with chronic pain—about 20% of the adult population in our country.
Chronic pain not only affects a person physically, but also emotionally and mentally, causing irritability, frustration, decreased sleep, and more. Despite pain medications, psychotherapy, and surgery, many people continue to suffer without reprieve.
Enter ketamine infusion therapy.
For more than 50-years, doctors all over the world have been using ketamine as a surgical anesthetic, and over the last 20+ years, it has grown in popularity as a highly effective solution for the management of pain. Doctors have found that ketamine, when administered by a medical professional, can be an incredibly versatile drug, having the ability to treat both depression and chronic pain…which oftentimes coexist. It’s this versatility that allows chronic pain patients to find new hope with an old drug.
Treating Chronic Pain
Given the individual needs of a patient, doctors may recommend a few different treatment avenues for the management of pain. These include psychotherapy, medications, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Opioids, a commonly prescribed type of pain medication, have drawbacks that can be damaging—and even devastating—due to the potential for abuse and addiction. Treating chronic pain without the use of opioids is preferable, and doctors may prescribe anticonvulsants, antidepressants, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in their place. However, these medications don’t come without their own side effects and risks.
Another form of treatment for chronic pain is exercise and yoga, however, given that many patients are in excruciating pain, these treatments may be a hard sell. Patients have tried changing their diets, engaging in psychotherapy and using CBT (cognitive behavior therapy), acupuncture, hypnotherapy, and other holistic options, as well. However, when these approaches fail, ketamine for pain may a viable option.
How Ketamine Works to Relieve Chronic Pain
Traditional pain management options treat symptoms as they occur, whereas ketamine for pain is more of a preventative treatment. Ketamine is able to repair neural pathways and block a chemical receptor called N-methyl-D-aspartate—or NMDA—which are found in the nervous system and play a major role in the manifestation of pain. By blocking these receptors, ketamine can stop the progression of pain sensitivity, and reduce it.
Ketamine also interacts with other neural channels and receptors, including muscarinic acetylcholine and nicotinic receptors, opioid receptors, voltage-sensitive sodium channels, and monoaminergic receptors. Recent studies have indicated that ketamine may suppress pain transmission by limiting astrocyte and microglial activation.
All of this is to say that ketamine can be viewed as a “reboot” for the central nervous system. Ketamine may not be the best option for all patients, but for patients who suffer from chronic pain and haven’t had success with medications or other first-line treatments, ketamine may be a viable option.
Benefits of Ketamine for Pain
When used for chronic pain management, ketamine has very few adverse side effects. Ketamine infusion therapy is a controlled, safe, and prolonged solution for chronic pain. It works quickly, oftentimes relieving pain within a few hours of an infusion, and preventing the pain from returning for up to several months after the initial series of infusions.
To find out if you’re a candidate for ketamine infusion therapy, please contact us using the brief form below. We are happy to help answer your questions and determine if ketamine infusion therapy would work for you.