If you’re suffering from chronic pain, you’re not alone. Pain can be physically debilitating and emotionally difficult to cope with, but if you’ve tried conventional treatment and had little relief, there may be another option for you.
Ketamine has a history of use as an anesthetic. In fact, it’s one of the safest anesthetics out there and is still used for that purpose in dental offices and some operating tables. Recently, however, researchers have been uncovering its promising ability to help manage chronic pain. Too many victims of chronic pain have been turning to opioids due to the unavailability of effective pain relief drugs. Ketamine infusions, which deliver the analgesic benefits of ketamine intravenously, have little to no side effects. However, they’re shown to effectively manage pain caused by fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries, neuropathy and more.
Ketamine for Pain Relief: A Safer and More Effective Alternative
Ketamine is an old drug with new meaning in the 21st century, as researchers have recently been exploring its pain-numbing applications for chronic pain sufferers. As opposed to harmful and addictive pain relievers like opioids, ketamine infusions are considered very safe in appropriate doses. Compared to over-the-counter pain relievers and common prescription pain-relieving drugs, ketamine seems to deliver a stronger pain-reducing effect, but with a smaller impact on your overall health.
Whereas opioids and some anesthetic drugs affect your respiratory system and cause you to stop breathing at high doses, ketamine has no effect on the bronchial smooth muscles, central respiratory drive or airway reflexes. For this reason, it was used in the Vietnam war as a battlefield analgesic because oxygen monitoring was limited. Ketamine doesn’t affect your circulatory system either, so it’s safe for long-term use to manage chronic pain.
Another reason ketamine is more effective as a pain reliever is that it also treats depression. Rather than providing a euphoric “high” that only results in a “crash” afterward, ketamine modulates the brain’s receptors and communication pathways in a manner that promotes long-term mental wellness. Many people who’ve had ketamine infusions stopped getting the treatment because the ketamine treatment cured their depression. Physical pain and depression tend to go hand and hand, and feeling better mentally and emotionally helps you physically as well.
Who Does Ketamine Help?
Unlike many chronic pain management drugs, ketamine infusions have no age restriction, so they can even help children who are suffering from chronic conditions. If you’re restricted from other pain medication because of your age, or if other pain medications haven’t worked for you, ketamine could be a great option.
Ketamine infusions can also help people with chronic pain who are about to undergo surgery. They’re also ideal for people who want to avoid falling victim to opioid addiction in the face of a growing opioid crisis in America. If you have struggled with any type of drug addiction, ketamine can help you break your addiction.
Also, if opioids haven’t worked for you, ketamine infusions may do the trick. Ketamine can help people who suffer chronic pain from cancer, spinal injuries, postherpetic neuralgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, migraines, sickle cell disease and more.
However, it’s important to note that ketamine won’t work for all chronic pain sufferers. Not everyone’s brain has the activated receptors required for ketamine to work its magic in the brain. Also, it’s not recommended for people with certain medical conditions, including heart disease, liver disease, glaucoma, and elevated intracranial pressure.
Ketamine can also play a role in treating acute pain like it was used on the battlefield.
How Does It Work?
Ketamine works by blocking the receptors in your brain known as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors or glutamate receptors. Researchers aren’t completely clear on how blocking NMDA receptors in the brain reduces pain, but they know it modulates the nervous system in a way that affects your perception of pain. Just one ketamine infusion is shown to provide pain relief for as long as 3 weeks with minimal side effects.
Is it Really Proven?
Ketamine does have a high success rate for battling pain associated with a variety of conditions. In higher doses as an anesthetic, it’s able to completely numb pain for people undergoing surgery. It’s also used for this purpose in veterinary settings. In clinical settings, high doses can be used if necessary, and benzodiazepines can be used to lessen the psychotropic side effects if necessary.
For managing most chronic pain, however, only low doses of ketamine are necessary, and there’s a low chance of side effects. In an assessment of the current research on ketamine use for chronic pain, researchers determined there are 4 studies that prove ketamine infusions provide relief for more than 48 hours after administration. They also determined that ketamine infusions prevented chronic pain resulting from surgery for as long as a month after the surgery.
What To Do Next?
Many people who can’t find relief from chronic pain give up or try to self-medicate. Ketamine is a safe but effective alternative for people who haven’t had success with other treatments or who want to avoid opioid dependence. Your primary care provider can help you decide if ketamine therapy is right for you, but they most likely don’t administer ketamine infusions. You’ll need to find a ketamine infusion center like MidSouth Pain Treatment Center to get started. Your treatment center will first make sure you’re eligible for ketamine treatment based on your physical and mental health history and medications you’re taking.
Ketamine has to be administered at the right dose, so it’s very important to have a Ketamine Infusion Therapy done under medical supervision. If you’d like to find out more about your ketamine treatment options, contact MidSouth Pain Treatment Center.
So if you or anybody you know is suffering from chronic pain or depression, click here to request a consultation today and find a Midsouth Pain Treatment Center branch near you in Tennessee or Mississippi.