Today, a rapidly growing number of chronic pain patients who have not responded to conventional therapies are reporting life changing results after undergoing a series of low dose ketamine infusion treatments. Research over the course of the last 15 years has shown that small doses of intravenous ketamine infusions have been effective in decreasing symptoms related to chronic pain syndromes, especially those that have a neuropathic component.
What is Ketamine
Ketamine is a safe analgesic medication that was developed more than 50 years ago for use primarily by anesthesiologists for sedation during surgery. Ketamine is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines, and is one of the most commonly used pharmaceuticals in the world.
In addition to being a powerful analgesic, ketamine is also known to have potent antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties. As pain practitioners, we understand that pain and depression often times go hand-in-hand. In certain instances, the effect of chronic pain serves to amplify the symptoms of depression. Increased depression can amplify the feeling and symptoms of chronic pain. The result is an ominous downward cycle that can be difficult to treat. Research suggests that ketamine has shown to be extremely valuable for its rapid and profound effectiveness in the treatment of depression, and other mood disorders, as well as neuropathic chronic pain conditions that have otherwise failed traditional treatments.
Dr. Mark Gostine of Michigan Pain Consultants discussing Ketamine Infusion Therapy on the FOX 17 Morning Mix Show.
How does ketamine infusion therapy work?
Pain signals travel to and from our brain on an interconnected network of nerves which run throughout our body. Tiny receptors on these nerves called NMDA receptors collect information from the body and immediately alert the brain if damage or injury has occurred.
Many chronic pain syndromes are caused by a spike of these NMDA receptors in the brain. Studies have shown that spikes in these NMDA receptors in the brain play a significant role in major depression, chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia and other neurological disorders.
In cases of acute pain, the NMDA receptors subside following the usual course of injury and the pain signal eventually is turned off. With chronic pain, the NMDA receptors do not turn off and begin to multiply creating an amplified pain signal.
Ketamine, has the unique ability to interfere with those NMDA receptors and essentially block the pain signal from reaching the brain. When administered in a precise low dose IV infusion, ketamine provides virtually instantaneous relief of pain symptoms and allows nerve receptors the chance to reset or reboot themselves.
The ketamine infusion process at MPC
New patients to MPC will be scheduled for a new patient consultation with one of our board certified pain physicians. During this appointment, your physician will perform a physical examination and a comprehensive review of your medical records with you to determine your appropriateness for ketamine treatment. If it is determined you are a candidate for ketamine infusion, your physician will utilize the information from your examination to determine the proper ketamine dose, infusion rate and duration of the infusion.
Ketamine therapy will be administered on site at Michigan Pain Consultants under close supervision of our trained medical personnel. Your infusion treatment will take place in a relaxed, comfortable environment. A trained member of our medical staff will start your IV and connect the necessary monitoring equipment that will be measuring your breathing, blood pressure, heart function, and other vital signs throughout the duration of your ketamine treatment.
To begin your treatment, a small dose of ketamine will intravenously be administered into your bloodstream. Once the treatment begins, it will typically take a few minutes before you begin to feel the actual effects of the medication. In many cases, relief can be experienced in as little as 15 minutes, although the appropriate frequency and longevity of treatment will depend on each patient’s specific condition and overall health. A typical ketamine infusion treatment lasts between 2-3 hours.
Once your ketamine infusion is complete, you will be monitored in recovery for 30-60 minutes prior to being discharged from your appointment. Each patient must have a driver present throughout the duration of their appointment.
Relaxation is the key to successful infusion. Moderate sedation will be used to reduce anxiety and control side effects during your treatment. It can be difficult to carry on a conversation during the procedure, so you are encouraged to sit back and relax throughout the course of your treatment. Many find it helpful and relaxing to listen to music and to wear an eyeshade or sunglasses while undergoing the infusion therapy treatment. We will have music, headphone and eyeshades available for your use, or you may bring your own.
What does ketamine infusion therapy treat?
We currently offer ketamine infusion therapy for all forms of neuropathic chronic pain including but not limited to:
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Low back and neck pain
We also offer ketamine infusion therapy for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mood disorders. Patients must have an established and confirmed diagnoses prior to seeking ketamine treatment at MPC.
Who will likely benefit from ketamine infusion therapy?
- Individuals with neuropathic pain that is not well controlled with injections, nerve blocks, or prescription pain medication.
- Individuals with chronic back and neck pain no longer responsive to any form of treatment.
- Individuals suffering from depression, PTSD and other mood disorders
- Individuals with other debilitating musculoskeletal and joint pain.