Ketamine Therapy for Pain Management Questions and Answers
At Bay Area Ketamine Center, our highly experienced, and professional physicians take your pain seriously, and take great pride in providing you with the relief you need, in a warm and comfortable environment, with our ketamine infusion therapy. For more information, call us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 746 Altos Oaks Drive, Los Altos, CA 94024.
How do ketamine infusions work for pain management?
The reason for the effectiveness of ketamine infusions in the management of pain is in its ability to block specific pain receptors in the brain. In addition, ketamine also resets some nerve cells in the spine and brain, which makes ketamine more effective at reducing some types of pain more than others. Ketamine infusions are given through an IV (intravenous) line, and can take anywhere from 45 minutes, or up to several hours, depending on the location, severity, and type of pain a patient is experiencing. Ketamine infusion therapy uses much lower doses than amounts used for anesthetic purposes, and for a short time, some mild side effects are common, such as mild hallucinations or a tingling and floating feeling.
Some of the conditions that are commonly treated with ketamine infusion therapy include:
- Neuropathic pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Traumatic spinal cord injury
- Back and nerve pain
- Specific types of cancer related back pain
When successful pain relief is achieved with ketamine infusions, the relief can be much longer lasting than other forms of treatment, resulting in the patient feeling better for weeks or possibly months.
Why does ketamine work for chronic pain?
Chronic pain that can last for months, or even years, affects millions of American men and women, and can dramatically affect one’s quality of life, making work, sleep, or physical activities we enjoy very challenging, and painful. Chronic back pain is one the most common locations of chronic pain. Surgeons and anesthesiologists have used ketamine as a pharmacological tool for decades due to its ability to block pain receptors in the brain, in both humans and in veterinary care, but over the past decade, the uses for ketamine have expanded in helping with other uses, like treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine binds to the NMDA receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate) in the brain, which helps to increase glutamate, a neurotransmitter. The increase in glutamate activates connections in another receptor, triggering molecules to be released that help neurons find new pathways to communicate. Ketamine is thought to reduce signals in the brain connected to inflammation, and ease pain through its anesthetic properties.
When to consider ketamine infusions?
The treatment of chronic pain with the use of ketamine infusions is not considered to be a first line of defense, but rather after having already exhausted the use of traditional methods of therapy and medications, and were not able to achieve relief from pain. In addition, the threat of developing a dependence on using opioids for chronic pain relief can lead to addiction, whereas ketamine infusions are done in a safe and controlled environment and often offer immediate relief from pain. Ketamine can provide relief from chronic, debilitating pain, or possibly eliminate the pain altogether without having to increase the use of addictive opioids to get through the day. Studies indicate that if an improvement in pain relief is felt after the first 1 to 3 infusions, the positive effects are more likely to improve even further with additional ketamine infusions over several weeks. Everyone’s pain is different, and occurs in different locations, which is why doctors at Bay Area Ketamine Center will develop, along with their patients, a customized infusion therapy plan based on each individual’s needs, and the efficacy of the therapy.
Am I a good candidate for ketamine infusions?
If you suffer from chronic pain, and have found pain relief from traditional methods like opioids to be ineffective, or you plan to be undergoing surgery, ketamine infusions may be a great option. There are multiple conditions that can result in chronic pain, which can be treated successfully with ketamine infusions, and it is always in your best interest to speak with a specialist in the field.
Bay Area Ketamine Center offers ketamine therapy for pain management so that you start living life again. Call us today or visit us online to book an appointment. We serve patients from Los Altos, CA, Sunnyvale CA, Palo Alto CA, Stanford CA, Atherton CA, and Cupertino CA.