Do you or someone you love suffer from chronic pain? Chronic pain can be depressing, demoralizing, and debilitating. It can rob you of your drive to live your life fully, and it can steal your joy.
Ketamine infusions can offer relief if other treatments have failed to provide the pain relief you need. Ketamine has helped some manage pain from migraines, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, and more. While it’s not a stand alone treatment, it can work in conjunction with a pain management plan to help you live your fullest life.
What is Ketamine?
You’ve probably already heard of Ketamine as a party drug. But long before it’s club-drug abuse, veterinarians started using ketamine as a tranquilizer, and battlefield medics used it as a field anesthetic during surgery. Since it was first patented in the 1960s, it’s also been widely used in hospitals as an anesthetic. Because it’s a stable compound that doesn’t need refrigeration, the World Health Organization has added it to its list of the world’s safest and most necessary drugs.
Only fairly recently has ketamine been discovered as a solution for treatment resistant depression and chronic pain. Some doctors have begun prescribing low doses of ketamine through infusions to help patients manage many different types of chronic pain.
How Does Ketamine Treat Chronic Pain?
Ketamine’s effectiveness for treating chronic pain comes from its ability to block a particular chemical receptor in the nervous system: N-methyl-D-aspartate, or NMDA. Ketamine also affects pain regulators in the brain (several studies have demonstrated Ketamine’s ability to “rewire” the brain). In short, ketamine works by blocking pain receptors.
Who Should Consider Ketamine Infusions for Their Chronic Pain?
Ketamine infusions are considered a third-line response to chronic pain. If you’ve tried opioids, anticonvulsants, and other common methods for pain relief without success, it might be time for you to consider ketamine infusions.
Dr. Charles F. von Gunten, vice president of medical affairs for Palliative and Hospice Medicine at Ohio Health in Columbus, OH, told the journal Practical Pain Management:
“I think of ketamine as a very effective pain medicine for a small number of patients: In general, patients who have been taking opioids for pain and found them to be ineffective.”
How Long Does the Pain Relief Last?
While a recent study published by the International Anesthesia Research Society found that ketamine infusions do offer pain relief, the amount of time the relief lasts varies from patient to patient. This particular study found the most significant relief lasted between 48 hours and 2 weeks, with lessening effect up to 8 weeks. Other studies have indicated that ketamine infusions can provide up to 3 months of relief from chronic pain.
Chronic Pain Treatment at Virginia Infusions Therapies
Because the long term effect of ketamine infusions for chronic pain varies, we recommend that our patients start with 3 approximately 4 hour infusion sessions in the first week of their treatment. Following the third treatment, we evaluate our patients responses, and customize a maintenance treatment plan for their pain management.
More data is needed to determine the success of ketamine infusions for particular types of pain. But two-thirds of patients have found relief from their chronic pain with ketamine infusions. Some patients may even find significant pain relief for up to 6 months.
Are Ketamine Infusions for Me?
If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain and haven’t found relief, it may be time for you to try ketamine infusions. We recommend that you schedule a FREE 15 minute phone consultation with one of our clinicians. Don’t live with pain if you don’t have to. Talk with us to see if we can help you live your healthiest, happiest life.