Dealing with chronic pain can be draining, both physically and psychologically. While many people suffer from chronic pain, few tend to find true, lasting relief. Fortunately, new methods of pain management are constantly being developed. Among the newest pain management plans is ketamine infusion therapy. First developed in 1963, ketamine has been used as an alternative for phencyclidine, or PCP, due to limited side effects. While it has, until recently, been pretty exclusively used for anesthesia for decades, ketamine offers a variety of potential benefits for chronic pain.
Whether you have been a long-term sufferer from chronic pain or are still trying to come to terms with pain that just won’t go away, here is what you need to know about ketamine and chronic pain relief.
What Is Chronic Pain?
After an injury, damaged cells send a message to the brain in the form of pain. The pain, in this case, is used to alert the brain of injury or of unfavorable conditions. Sometimes, however, our pain receptors keep firing overtime, turning a temporary warning signal into a constant burden. Chronic pain is defined in the medical community as any pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. In some cases, the pain may have a known cause, such as an injury or illness, but, in other instances, there may be no clear source. This leaves both patients and healthcare practitioners baffled and frustrated. While the 12-week mark is a way to differentiate acute pain from chronic pain for medical practitioners, in reality, chronic pain can often last for months or even years.
Types of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can come in the form of several sensations, including sharp pain, dull aches, and burning. The pain can occur after an injury such as a break or sprain, or after surgery. Likewise, chronic pain can also be triggered by illness such as arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, endometriosis, internal cystitis or fibromyalgia. Some of the most common areas for chronic pain are back, neck, shoulders, and joints. However, chronic pain can present almost anywhere in the body.
Complications of Chronic Pain
Due to its consistent and long-term nature, chronic pain can be severely debilitating and can lead to additional physical and mental problems. Some of the most common complications include mood changes, reduced flexibility, and strength, sleep disturbances, decreased energy and decreased appetite.
In some instances, living with chronic pain may complicate even the simplest of tasks, leaving individuals feeling hopeless or sometimes even clinically depressed. Many times, suffering from chronic pain will prove detrimental not only to the patient but also to their loved ones.
What to Do If You Are Hurting
If you are noticing pain that will not quite go away, even with medication, you should bring up the issue with your doctor. Pain is your body’s way of asking for help and, in many cases, it can signify an underlying illness or internal injury. Whatever you do, do not try to “tough it out.” Ignoring the pain often will needlessly prolong your suffering and lead to even more serious consequences.
Before you head to your doctor, take note of when the pain started, as well as any associated symptoms, including fever and swelling. This information will help your doctor accurately determine the cause. After all, the human body is extremely complicated, and pain in one area can sometimes signify a problem somewhere else.
In most cases, your doctor will do his or her best to alleviate your pain by prescribing medications and managing the underlying conditions. Your doctor is also the best person to diagnose your pain as “chronic.” While doctors often do their best to ensure that patients are pain-free, be aware that many traditional medications, though effective, do not work for everyone.
Treating Chronic Pain with Ketamine
Studies show that ketamine can successfully treat various types of pain, including cancer aches, postherpetic neuralgia, phantom pain, and fibromyalgia.
Like any drug, though, Ketamine can have side effects, including short-term memory loss and a feeling of dissociation from one’s body. However, these can be minimized and managed by a qualified healthcare professional. Ketamine should never be administered without the care of a licensed pain management specialist.
If you suffer from chronic pain, the idea of long-lasting relief may seem like a dream. Fortunately, there are doctors who provide outstanding ketamine treatment in Los Angeles, like Dr. Michael Steuer from Pacific Ketamine Institute, who are dedicated to treating chronic pain, depression, PTSD and bipolar mood disorder.
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Are you still suffering from chronic pain? Ketamine may be your solution. Read more to find out how Ketamine can help you live pain-free.