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Ketamine for Chronic Pain

Are you among 20.5% of Americans who suffer from chronic pain? If so, it is likely that you are seeking chronic pain relief due to the interference it causes in your daily life

At Home Ketamine Therapy in Seattle Metropolitan Area
Chronic-Pain

The good news is that ketamine is a widely recognized anesthetic and fast-acting pain reliever, and perhaps it's the missing link to treating your chronic pain

Various conditions are being studied for ketamine treatment, including cancer, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, phantom pain, postherpetic neuralgia, sickle cell disease, and spinal injury. In general, two groups of chronic pain patients may benefit from ketamine: those who have not experienced relief from other pain medications or treatments, and those who plan to undergo surgery. We know how devastating everyday pain can be and with AVYIA’s intravenous ketamine therapy, chronic pain does not have to control your life any longer.

Prevalence

Prevalence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an about 50 million adults in the U.S. have chronic pain

Age of onset

It is more common in older adults. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 40% of adults aged 60 and older have chronic pain.

Gender differences

Women are more likely to than men to experience chronic pains. conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Comorbidity

Chronic pain is often associated with other health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, up to 50% of patients with chronic pain experiencing depression, and up to 80% have some form of sleep disturbance.

Disability

Disability

According to the Global Burden of Disease study, chronic pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for 7.5% of all years lived with disability.

Access

Access to treatment

Access to treatment for chronic pain varies widely depending on factors such as geographic location, socioeconomic status, and insurance coverage. Many people with chronic pain do not receive adequate treatment due to a lack of knowledge even among healthcare providers, as well as stigma surrounding pain management and opioid use.

What is Chronic Pain

Pain is a discomforting feeling that accompanies tissue damage, and its intensity varies depending on an individual’s subjective perception. It serves as a warning sign of a disease that needs to be diagnosed and treated. On the opposite side, chronic pain is a form of pain that lasts longer than three months and is more susceptible to recurring. It can originate from an acute pain that lingers for longer than anticipated, often due to several factors. Patients experiencing chronic pain may develop psychological disorders, including anxiety, depression, and mood changes that can impact their social functionality. Fortunately enough, apart from treating chronic pain ketamine can be used to treat depression and anxiety as well.

What Causes Chronic Pain

While there are various factors that can contribute to chronic pain, it can be broadly classified into three separate groups:

Non-inflammatory pain

this includes headaches, back pain, and neck pain caused by muscle contractions

Inflammatory pain

such as postoperative pain, pain caused by trauma, degenerative pain, cancer-related pain, arthritis-related pain, and gout-related pain.

Nerve-related pain

ncluding pain after shingles, sciatica, intermittent nerve pain, fifth cranial nerve pain, and pain due to neurological complications in diabetic patients.

Whatever the cause of your chronic pain may be, it’s always an unpleasant feeling that should be treated as fast as possible and that’s why we are here to help.  AVYIA’s standard course of 6 ketamine therapy sessions may significantly improve chronic pain, making your life easy and more comfortable

Currently, there is no FDA-approved indication for using ketamine infusion as a treatment modality, but recent data has shown growing evidence for its efficacy in treating a wide range of psychiatric and chronic pain disorders

Goordeen, A., Zemmedhun, G., Abd-Elsayed, A., & Yolland, M. (2022, July 29). Ketamine infusion and its role in chronic pain. ASRA Pain Medicine News, 47. https://doi.org/10.52211/asra080122.036

What are The Symptoms

Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence to experience persistent pain that never completely goes away. On top of constant discomfort, sporadic painful episodes may arise due to heightened stress or engaging in unfamiliar activities.

Although chronic pain symptoms vary among individuals, those who live with persistent symptoms typically describe their pain using the following terms:

  • Burning
  • Dull aches
  • Throbbing
  • Squeezing
  • Shooting
  • Pulsing 

Chronic pain is characterized by various signs and symptoms and not only on a physical level. Given that chronic pain symptoms impact every aspect of life, they can manifest as physical or emotional.

What are the symptoms

Physical Symptoms:

Common physical symptoms of chronic pain may include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Reduce range of motion
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping

Emotional Symptoms:

Apart from physical symptoms, chronic pain can also lead to adverse mental health symptoms, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Guilt
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts

Ketamine for Chronic Pain

Ketamine functions as an anesthetic agent and in lower doses, has demonstrated efficacy in treating chronic pain. Ketamine has the ability to block certain sodium and potassium channels, which is similar to how local anesthetics work. Ketamine’s ability to boost the levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid A) in the brain, causes senses of deep relaxation and sedation.

It has been observed to offer relief for several weeks after treatment by obstructing receptors in the spinal cord, making it a versatile pain reliever that enables the body to reset and adapt to persistent pain

Ketamine is not only effective for chronic pain conditions but also for depression

Many people develop depression over time due to seemingly untreatable everyday pain. Prescription antidepressants may take several months to build up in your system and alleviate your depression symptoms.

In contrast, ketamine infusion therapy can provide some improvement in your mood and pain within just a few hours after your appointment and the effects can persist for a couple of weeks.

After your initial treatment, you and your doctor can determine the best intervals for maintaining positive results. Combining ketamine therapy with other more traditional approaches can also be a good option for people who can’t manage pain-related depression.

There is evidence that long term treatment of chronic pain (particularly in pain with a neuropathic component) with ketamine will cause prolonged pain relief.

Niesters, M., Martini, C., & Dahan, A. (2014). Ketamine for chronic pain: risks and benefits. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 77(2), 357-367. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12094. PMID: 23432384, PMCID: PMC4014022

FAQ

Pain, whether acute or chronic, is a significant healthcare concern in the United States, and classifying it as acute or chronic can be confusing for many people, so let’s make it simple.

Acute pain is a natural physiological response to injury. This kind of pain is felt after sustaining a burn or a cut, for example. Acute pain develops rapidly, is typically severe, and subsides entirely within a short duration. Typically, acute pain disappears after three months.

On the contrary, chronic pain is brought on by pain signals in the brain that keep firing even after an injury has healed. Peripheral nerve damage following an initial injury is one of the primary reasons for chronic pain. The affected nerves continue to receive and transmit pain signals throughout the body, even after the injury has healed. 

Since various conditions can lead to chronic pain, healthcare professionals may suggest different types of treatment. For example, there are some traditional rehabilitation methods such as prescription medication or physical therapy, and on the other side, we have novel treatments such as ketamine therapy. As there are numerous options available, talking with your healthcare provider to determine what’s the most effective treatment plan is always recommended. If you tried all the traditional pain management options available without success, giving ketamine therapy a try may seem like a good option.

For people who are suffering from severe chronic pain, the idea of taking addictive pain medication such as opioids may be concerning, and truth be told, it isn’t without a reason. In 2017 over 115 people died every single day from overdosing on opioids. Fortunately, ketamine has relatively low addiction potential, especially when used in small quantities in a therapeutic setting. Our doctors at AVYIA are highly educated and professionally trained, meaning that you will be in good hands without having to worry about getting addicted to ketamine.

Ketamine’s safety has been repeatedly demonstrated over the past fifty years. However, like with any other medication, not all patients are suitable for this type of treatment. Contact us so we can discuss and see whether you are a good fit.

Most healthcare providers with significant experience in Ketamine treatment specialize in anesthesia, emergency medicine, or psychiatry. While Ketamine is considered a safe medication, it’s essential to have a qualified and experienced provider who can respond to any potential emergencies during treatment. At AVYIA, our patients receive care from experienced and professionally trained doctors who who continuously monitor their safety throughout the treatment.

Ketamine has not been shown to have any long-term negative effects, such as bladder damage, when used in small dosages. Ketamine-related bladder cystitis has only been observed in patients who have abused the drug in extremely high doses.

After the first round of IV Ketamine treatment, we provide maintenance or “booster” doses to our patients. While some patients may remain symptom-free for an extended period, others may require more frequent treatment.