Chronic pain ranks as a significant public health problem, putting an emotional and financial burden on millions of people. One of the biggest challenges for medical practitioners as a whole is when pain is neuropathic in origin. In neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves become damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. Neuropathic pain proves resistant to many forms of treatment, leaving people frustrated, limited in daily life, and not knowing where to turn. Much of the alterations in neuropathic pain occur at the spinal cord. Ongoing pain overstimulates NMDA receptors in the spine, causing them to overreact to future sensory input. Mild pain is felt as more severe pain, and it causes very real physiological reactions. Even normal sensations such as touch can become painful due to central sensitization.
First-line treatments for chronic pain include antidepressants, anti-epileptics, and opioids, but, in the general medical community, these treatments do not create adequate pain relief in 60% of patients or more.1,2 When first-line approaches are not working, there is definitely another option. A drug called ketamine directly blunts the spine’s NMDA receptors involved in neuropathic pain.3-5 Current medical research is exploring treatment protocols to deliver small ketamine infusions that can provide lasting relief for intractable pain.6-9 In one study, researchers treated complex regional pain syndrome with IV ketamine. Complex regional pain syndrome is a very difficult to treat source of chronic neuropathic pain. One hundred percent of study participants experienced complete pain relief from one to three IV ketamine treatments.6
Because of the way ketamine works, patients with many types of pain can expect dramatic pain relief that standard treatments were unable to achieve. IV ketamine can be an option for complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic neuralgia, peripheral nerve injury, chronic migraine, chemo-induced pain, phantom limb pain, spinal cord injury, and a long list of other pain etiologies that have neuropathic components. One of the reasons that IV ketamine is not a first-line approach for pain management is that treatment is often time-consuming and labor-intensive. To achieve lasting pain relief, patients must visit the office of a specialized practitioner (such as The Taub Group) for several infusions initially. Subsequent maintenance treatments may be continued every 30 to 90 days, and potentially on an as-needed basis.
If you are experiencing chronic pain, please contact The Taub Group for a thorough assessment. We specialize in pain management, and we can consult with you about the latest medical science in pain relief.
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