Pain is a complex sensory and emotional experience. Everyone feels pain in their own way, and no single treatment works for everyone.
When you have chronic pain that affects every aspect of your life and you can’t get relief from traditional pain management methods, then you might consider intravenous (IV) ketamine therapy.
At Interventional Pain Associates in Austin, Texas, our pain management expert, Dr. Sarosh Saleemi, understands the power of pain and how it can take over your life. We offer many treatment options to help our patients get long-lasting relief, including IV ketamine therapy.
Here, we want to talk about IV ketamine therapy and when we may consider it as a treatment option for pain.
About your pain
Pain is a protective mechanism. It’s an uncomfortable sensation that your body uses to get your attention so you can take action. It usually occurs when you have an injury or illness and goes away after the body heals.
However, some people continue to experience pain long after they’ve recovered from their injury or illness. Your ongoing pain may occur because of an underlying health issue like arthritis. However, you can have chronic pain without an obvious cause.
You see, your nervous system is constantly learning and changing. This ability is called neuroplasticity. With chronic pain, the changes in your nervous system may affect how your brain interprets pain signals, making you more sensitive to the sensation.
With acute pain, treatment focuses on healing the source of the discomfort. Chronic pain requires a broader approach, one that addresses the nervous system changes that prolong the pain.
How ketamine therapy works
Ketamine is a general anesthetic (anesthesia that puts you to sleep) used during surgical procedures. Health care providers can also administer low-dose IV ketamine therapy to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain.
Ketamine works by binding with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) — a nervous system receptor that modulates pain — to block the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate is a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate.
Though researchers are still investigating how ketamine works for pain, it’s theorized that blocking NMDA forces glutamate to make new neural connections, accelerating neuroplasticity to change how your brain interprets pain signals.
When to consider ketamine therapy
Ketamine therapy can help many people get relief from their pain, but it’s not the right treatment for everyone. We only recommend ketamine therapy for our patients who’ve tried other traditional pain treatments ― medications, physical therapy, and pain injections — but continue to have pain.
We recommend ketamine therapy as a treatment for many chronic pain conditions, including:
- Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Neuropathic pain
- Spinal injuries
- Cancer pain
Ketamine therapy is an in-office treatment done under close supervision. You may notice improvements in pain right away. However, you may need a series of IV ketamine therapy sessions to achieve the best outcome.
If you have chronic pain and can’t get relief from any other treatment, then it’s time to consider ketamine therapy. Call our office or click the “book online” button to make an appointment with our pain specialist to discuss how ketamine can help you.