What Type of Pain Is Ketamine Effective for?

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a saying you’ve probably heard thousands of times. But that saying doesn’t hold any bearing when it comes to things like pain. Pain is one of the most debilitating conditions anyone can experience daily. It doesn’t matter how mild or chronic your pain may be; it can still affect how you go about your everyday routine.

Sadly, according to statistics, around 50.2 million adults in the U.S., or 20% of American adults, live with chronic pain. Pain isn’t just physical; it also has mental implications. According to statistics, people suffering from chronic pain are three times more likely to become depressed, especially if all the medications they have tried aren’t working.

Rather than go down the rabbit hole of becoming addicted to a painkiller, why not try pain therapy with ketamine? Let’s look at everything there is to know about ketamine and what type of pain it’s effective for.

A Brief History of Ketamine

Historically, medical professionals have been tirelessly searching for ways to reduce recovery time and treat post-surgery pain. However, over the years, psychological and medical researchers have had countless breakthroughs that have led to the discovery of various new and improved treatment options.

One of these discoveries is ketamine. In the 1950s, ketamine was a common pain reliever and anesthetic as it had a low side effect and quick action profile. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that ketamine gained popularity as a therapy for anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

But for it to work, it has to be administered in carefully measured doses under a physician’s close supervision. One advantage of ketamine over opioid pain relievers is that it has no addictive potential.

What Type of Pain Does Ketamine Treat?

The type of pain that ketamine helps relieve is chronic pain. So, how does ketamine help relieve chronic pain? Ketamine relieves chronic pain by interacting with a chemical receptor found in your nervous system known as N-Methyl-D-aspartate or NMDA. Ketamine works by blocking the receptors in your nervous system for an extended time during your ketamine pain therapy.

This helps “reboot” the receptor, which helps stop interpreting peripheral stimulation as chronic pain. Most people who don’t respond well to the different pain treatments available find ketamine treatment extremely beneficial.

What Type of Chronic Pain Conditions Does Ketamine Respond to?

Some of the chronic pain conditions ketamine respond to include the following:

Fibromyalgia: This condition causes a widespread muscular discomfort that is frequently described as a dull, constant, and aching pain above and below the waist. This pain can also be experienced on both sides of the body.

Migraines: Studies have shown that ketamine is effective in relieving migraines that have constantly resisted conventional treatment.

Ketamine also proves to be effective for chronic pain conditions like:

  • Pain caused by an injury
  • Arthritis
  • Neckache
  • Backache
  • Cancer pain
  • Post-operative discomfort
  • Nerve pain

Does Ketamine Have any Side Effects?

Like any other pain management treatment, it’s important to know if ketamine has any notable side effects. And yes, it does affect your central nervous system. Patients have reported experiencing drowsiness, hallucinations, dissociation, and a spaced-out feeling.

Despite the effects, people are still increasingly experiencing relief from the chronic pain they experience through ketamine infusions. How do ketamine infusions work? Ketamine infusions are primarily administered through an IV at a medical facility. Intravenous administration of the drug can take anywhere from 45 minutes to five hours, depending on your condition.

Unlike surgical anesthesia, the dosage to help relieve pain is much lower. Also, depending on your treatment plan, your doctor may offer you a few other medications to help reduce potential side effects and relieve your pain.

During the ketamine infusion process, you may experience a few mild hallucinations, floating, or sensations of tingling. So, once you are done with your treatment, it’s advisable to spend at least an hour in observation.

The first few ketamine treatments help stabilize your pain. Your clinician will later work with you to help you get where you desire to be and work on your maintenance phase.

It’s also important to note that ketamine treats more than chronic pain. It can also work as a treatment therapy for anyone suffering from depression. With ketamine infusion, you get to experience some improvement in your pain and mood within a few hours. So, if you are looking for chronic pain relief that will work, why not consider ketamine?