Ketamine Can Be Helpful in Treating Chronic Pain
Ketamine was manufactured in the 1960s for anesthesia purposes in emergency medicine. However, most people commonly know it as a street drug. Sometimes referred to as special K, vitamin K, or Super K, ketamine has been a staple in modern medicine for decades. Just recently, scientists discovered another possible use for ketamine – chronic pain management. Numerous studies have shown that when prescribed in low doses, ketamine may be able to help manage pain and treat mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we are advocates for regenerative medicine and how it is changing the future. The more research that is done, the more we learn and have the tools to help those living with chronic pain. Ketamine, for example, is a drug that many think negatively. It is often written off as a “club drug” that is abused and can cause some seriously destructive behaviors. However, thanks to new research, we are learning that ketamine may be more than a street drug. It may be able to help people. Over the last decade, pain medicine physicians and researchers have been testing the use of intravenous (IV) ketamine infusions as a way to manage pain. The good news? It’s working. Although it wasn’t approved for the treatment of chronic pain until March 19, 2019, many believed that ketamine could change the way we manage many pain conditions.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at ketamine and how it may be able to help control pain associated with many different conditions. It is our goal to not only provide guidance and treatment but to educate our patients about the latest in regenerative medicine. From debunking common stem cell therapy myths to taking a deeper look at the benefits of amniotic fluid injections, we are here to be your resource.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a class III drug that was originally developed as an anesthesia medication for use in the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, ketamine abuse was widespread, and the drug soon became known as a street drug. Depending on the amount taken, ketamine can cause a trance-like state that gives the illusion of floating. This is why it became such a popular recreational drug.
That being said, when ketamine is taken in low doses, it can provide pain relief and help manage mood disorders. As long as you take the drug as directed by a physician and in low quantities, it may be very beneficial. However, when you abuse it, it can lead to loss of memory and changes in sense of sight, sound, and mental state.
Some of the potential side effects of ketamine include:
- Blurred vision
- Increased blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme fear
Many of these side effects are extremely dangerous – both mentally and physically. This is why it is absolutely imperative that ketamine is only taken in low doses and as directed by your physician.
What the Research on Ketamine Says
Within the last year, numerous studies published have looked at the use of ketamine for chronic pain management. Research shows that patients who are living with a chronic pain condition like complex regional pain syndrome may respond well to low doses of ketamine.
When ketamine interacts with certain chemical receptors, we have found that it may be able to soothe the nervous system and control pain. Furthermore, it can also help treat suicidal thoughts and provide relief from depression. This is because, according to research, ketamine causes a glutamate reaction that has a domino effect, essentially reversing the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and major depression.
The more we learn about how ketamine reacts with the brain and, in turn, helps suppress the side effects of numerous pain and mood disorders, the better. Its anti-inflammatory properties are giving us hope for an even more effective pain management solution.
What pain conditions can ketamine help treat?
- Acute postoperative pain
- Chronic postoperative pain
- Cancer pain (when the patient does not respond to opioid drugs)
- Refractory pain in palliative care
- Chronic back pain
Many of the studies published thus far have looked at ketamine in the management of postoperative or cancer pain. However, we are seeing more research on how it may be of benefit to individuals suffering from chronic pain or refractory pain when administered in low doses. Due to ketamine’s adverse effects, it is of the utmost importance the drug is never misused or abused. High doses should be avoided, and ketamine should not be taken in conjunction with other potentially addictive drugs.
What Causes Chronic Pain
Today we have been discussing the use of ketamine for chronic pain management. More than 100 million Americans and 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain. Pain can affect any part of the body at any given time. While we often associate chronic pain with older adults, this is an unfortunate misconception. One in 10 Americans experience chronic pain every single day, and low back pain is the leading cause of worldwide disability.
Some of the most common causes of chronic pain include:
- Degenerated disc disease
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Hip pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Compression fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Diabetic neuropathy
Pain is often unique to each person and very difficult to pinpoint the root cause of. At Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we believe in working closely with our patients to ensure a positive outcome. When it comes to managing pain, ketamine may be a good option.
How to Manage Pain Safely
It is no secret that the United States is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Millions of Americans have died because of drug abuse or misuse. This is why we strive to offer pain management solutions such as stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Modern medicine has come a long way in recent years, providing us with a broad range of tools and tactics to treat various conditions today. Ketamine, for example, is a drug many associated with abuse. But thanks to research, we are learning that it could be extremely advantageous to many.
We are here to help you manage your pain safely. To learn more about ketamine for chronic pain management, please contact Texas Partners Healthcare Group today and schedule an appointment.