The statistics surrounding chronic pain are nothing short of concerning — nearly 52 million Americans report chronic pain and, of this number, slightly more than 17 million have high impact pain that severely limits their lives.
Making matters worse, chronic pain can also have a major impact on mental health. For example, about 65% of those who seek treatment for depression also experience pain.
Here at Institute for Advanced Psychiatry, Dr. Diana Ghelber and our team offer ketamine infusion therapy, which has become a viable and highly effective treatment option for chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and more.
Here, we take a look at how ketamine infusion therapy might hold the key to unlocking your chronic pain.
The challenges of chronic pain
When you have chronic pain, which is pain that lasts for three months or more, this long-standing symptom can start to take on a life of its own. This is because the pain signaling pathways become overactive and remain so. Not to mention, when you’re in pain, your body is stuck in a stress response, which can lead to systemwide inflammation that exacerbates your pain.
Many people with chronic pain also have conditions that aren’t going to get better, such as arthritis or other degenerative conditions. In these cases, medical providers are left to find ways to manage the pain, and sometimes these options aren’t ideal, especially those that involve risky opioids.
Our point here is that chronic pain comes with a number of challenges that make long-term and sustainable relief tricky.
Ketamine was first introduced as an anesthetic in the 1960s and was lauded for its ability to suppress pain without affecting respiratory systems. (One of the reasons why opioids are so dangerous is that they affect breathing.)
As ketamine was used in clinical practice, medical researchers and providers began to discover that, not only was ketamine excellent at relieving pain, it also works with the same systems in your brain that regulate mood, including:
- Your amygdala
- Your hypothalamus
- Your anterior cingulate gyrus
- The neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine
In a nutshell, ketamine works on your brain in a way that not only suppresses pain, but also improves neural pathways that favor healthier mood regulation and reduced stress.
Ketamine infusion therapy
If you have chronic pain, the goal of our ketamine infusion therapy is not only to relieve your current discomfort, but to rewire your brain in a way that doesn't favor pain.
To do this, we administer an intravenous infusions of ketamine right here in our offices, which can take several hours. We continue with a series of treatments over the course of four weeks and, after this initial treatment, you can follow up with maintenance treatments, as needed.
If you’d like to explore whether ketamine infusion therapy can help you break free from chronic pain, please contact us at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry in Granbury or Fort Worth, Texas, to schedule a consultation.