Ketamine can be an effective tool for treating chronic pain. While most doctors will use ketamine as an anesthetic, it can also limit the patient’s perception of pain during treatment and in the following weeks. Researchers have more to learn about the science behind ketamine infusion therapy, but evidence suggests that low doses of ketamine can reduce patients’ perception of pain.
For many patients, ketamine treatment can reduce or eliminate the need for opioids and other pain medications. The doctors at the Spine Institute of North America perform ketamine infusion therapy when other methods aren’t bringing the patient the relief they need. Ketamine treatment may be your best path toward a more comfortable life.
How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Works
To perform the treatment, the doctor introduces intravenous (IV) ketamine into the patient’s bloodstream in a lower dosage than what anesthesiologists use during surgeries. The substance interacts with the patient’s brain to address chronic pain at a cellular level.
When a patient experiences chronic pain, the cause is often a deficiency of neurons and synaptic connections in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. Ketamine increases activity in these areas to encourage the creation of neurons and synaptic connections. At the same time, ketamine inhibits the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor which often becomes oversensitive in patients experiencing chronic pain. Lowering the receptor’s reaction level results in reduced pain from the same stimulation.