Chronic Pain. You wake with it every day. And if you don’t wake with it, you’re wondering when it will strike next. It can be crushing. And it can rob your “joie de vivre” – joy for life
If you and your doctors have tried everything to treat your chronic pain without success, ketamine infusions may provide the solution you need. This drug, first used as an anesthetic and tranquilizer, has proven to successfully treat many types of chronic pain. Could chronic pain treatment with ketamine infusions provide relief for you too?
Ketamine infusions work because they affect a particular chemical receptor in the nervous system called N-methyl-D-asparte (NMDA). It blocks pain receptors and can essentially “rewire” the brain. (Keep reading for a more detailed description below.)
About two-thirds of patients using ketamine infusions to treat their chronic pain have found relief. Because ketamine infusions treat pain related to a particular neural receptor, they don’t affect all types of pain. But as research about ketamine expands, its medical uses are expanding too. In addition to chronic pain, ketamine infusions can treat depression and PTSD.
At the end of the day, ketamine infusions provide hope for those who’ve struggled to find relief from their chronic pain.
Ketamine as an Alternative to Opioids in Pain Management
Ketamine infusions have also piqued the interest of the medical community as it seeks alternatives to opioids to manage pain. As the national opioid crisis grows, so does the need for opioid alternatives. Dr. Steven P. Levine, founder of Actify Neurotherapies, told MD Magazine that opioids are not only “not very effective” for treating chronic pain, but they also lead to opioid addictions. And while opioid prescriptions are decreasing, people still need pain management options.
“People still continue to struggle with chronic pain, chronic migraine, fibromyalgia – the same conditions that people were prescribed opiates for, we now need another solution,” Dr. Levine told MD Magazine. “We wind up seeing many patients who either are currently on opiates or have a chronic pain condition that might otherwise have been treated with opiates, and they’re looking for an alternative. And so, for many of these folks, ketamine can provide that alternative.”
How Does Ketamine Work for Chronic Pain?
As we said before, ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor – a common culprit behind chronic pain and opioid resistance. Scientifically, ketamine is referred to as a “NMDA Antagonist.” About 10 years ago, Dr. Dr. David Borsook, director of the Center for Pain and the Brain, released a study demonstrating that ketamine inhibits the release of glutamate within glia. This means that ketamine blocks the neural transmission of pain signals.
But ketamine infusions do more than just block the transmission of pain signals. Dr. Borsook’s study also revealed that the ketamine infusions “reset” brain circuits when administered in a low dose over an extended period of time.
“Taken together, ketamine may act not only on sensory systems affecting pain intensity, but on a constellation of brain regions that are involved in the pain phentype,” Dr. Borsook wrote.
Who Should Consider Ketamine Infusions for Chronic Pain?
If you have unsuccessfully tried traditional forms of chronic pain management, it may be time for you to consider ketamine infusions. Ketamine infusions are not a stand alone treatment, but work within a comprehensive pain treatment plan.
You should also consider ketamine infusions if you suffer from the pain conditions outlined above – conditions like migraines, fibromyalgia, and Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.
Talk to your doctor about ketamine and set up a free 15 minute consultation with one of the doctors at Virginia Infusion Therapies. Why suffer with chronic pain if you don’t have to? Find out if you could be one of the 60% of people who have found relief from their chronic pain with ketamine infusions.