Chronic pain can upend everyday life for sufferers. Those in its clutches might experience disruptions to sleep, depression, or other emotional and mental symptoms, which makes managing it all the more important. Ketamine, used as an anesthetic and pain reliever since the 1970s, has proven a valuable drug to manage chronic pain and a good alternative to traditional drugs like opioids, especially when used for long-term pain management.
Is Ketamine Right for You?
With its ability to work quickly and tame symptoms for up to several months following a series of treatment, Ketamine therapy is prescribed as a pain management tool for many types of patients who experience chronic pain. Most frequently, ketamine is prescribed for those who have tried other types of pain medications or treatments without relief and those who are suffering and planning for an upcoming surgery. Ketamine may also be used an alternative to opioids, which are known to be highly addictive and come with a host of negative side effects.
Ketamine nulls chronic pain by interacting with a chemical receptor called N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), which regulates pain within the nervous system, in addition to other receptors. The drug’s sedative, pain-relieving, and short-term memory loss properties make it a beneficial solution to the treatment of chronic pain.
What to Expect from a Ketamine Treatment
If you and your doctor decide that ketamine might be a valuable pain management tool for you, you will likely schedule a series of treatment appointments, after which you may experiencing relief from your chronic pain within a few hours.
At your infusion appointment, a doctor will administer a small, controlled dosage of the drug. Ketamine is administered in several ways: orally via pill, applied as a gel or cream directly to the skin, injected into a muscle or bone, or inhaled through the nose. However, the most common way for ketamine to be administered is by intravenous pump. Because of the drug’s flexibility, doctors are able to tailor it to a variety of medical situations.
Ketamine’s use as a treatment for chronic pain over the past two decades has given hope to those looking for more effective pain management.