Pain that is mysterious, or more severe than would be expected, and long-lasting is often diagnosed as chronic. It’s not acute – meaning it’s not caused by a short term injury or tissue damage. Many forms of chronic pain, such as Complex Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS) is not always localized to a specific area of the body. Instead, it seems to originate in your back one day, and your ankle the next and can even move to different body parts over time. But regardless of it’s location its symptoms and the distress it causes may be treatable with the powerful medication, ketamine.
WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN?
“Pain is a personal sensation. It can’t be measured objectively, and yet it can have a powerfully negative effect on mood, interactions with others, and physical functioning. It can also be isolating and poorly understood by others. When pain isn’t properly managed, it can sometimes devastate people’s lives.”
If the pain you’re experiencing lasts for three to six months or longer, then it may be clinically diagnosed as chronic pain. Left untreated, chronic pain may have a devastating impact on all areas of your life.
CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION?
Pain and depression are inextricably related. In a vicious cycle, depression can lead to pain — and pain can result in depression. Sometimes depression and pain create an even more brutal cycle in which pain intensifies symptoms of depression, and then the consequential depression makes feelings of pain even worse.
In many people, their depression results in unexplained physical symptoms like headaches or back pain. This kind of pain may be the first or the, occasionally, the only sign of other mental health disorders.
THE COST OF CHRONIC PAIN
By some estimates, chronic pain costs $650 billion annually worldwide in terms of money spent on care, lost productivity, and other expenses. A more relatable figure is the human cost of chronic pain.
In 2019, an astounding 20.4% of American adults experienced chronic pain and 7.4% of adults had chronic pain that limited life or work activities over a three-month period. Chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain each increased with age and were highest among adults older than age 65.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF CHRONIC PAIN
The exact cause of your chronic pain may never be totally known, but once a complete diagnosis is made, your doctor or specialist will have a good idea of the origin. Common Possible causes include any of the following:
- The deterioration of intervertebral discs.
- The innermost nucleus of a spinal disc may herniate outward and begin a chemical flow of inflammatory mediators that injure spinal nerves.
- A facet joint, a small steadying joint between vertebrae, may develop osteoarthritis.
- Ligaments can become strained and injured.
- Muscles can spasm or sprain constantly.
- Compression within arthritic vertebrae may lead to lower blood flow to the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
- Nerves throughout the body may become stretched or damaged in a way that begins a chronic pain cycle that is difficult to break.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
“Many people with chronic pain can be helped if they understand all the causes of pain and the many and varied steps that can be taken to undo what chronic pain has done.” Scientists believe that neuroscience advances will lead to new treatments for chronic pain in the years ahead.
HOW TO STOP THE CHRONIC PAIN CYCLE
The following treatment options take into consideration the issue of chronic pain on many levels. Each component is intended to encourage the brain’s ability to adjust, known as neuroplasticity.
- The clinical use of ketamine. The medicine has been shown to strengthen neurotransmitters in the brain which control how the body perceives and deals with pain. Ketamine also works at the spinal cord level, essentially “putting on the breaks” and breaking dysfunctional chronic pain cycles.
- Knowledge (improved awareness): Remember that pain doesn’t automatically mean harm, and structural abnormalities don’t always forecast or correlate with pain intensity. Recognize that certain deeply held fears, thoughts, or misunderstandings about pain can slow your recovery. The more you learn about pain, and mental techniques to help manage chronic pain, the less debilitating your pain may be. Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help deal with pain, and traumatic experiences that can increase distress.
- Anatomical: Mechanical shortcomings are rectified with strengthening exercises through in-home exercise programs or physical therapy, and awareness of posture. Get professional guidance before starting a strengthening program aimed at controlling your pain.
- “Biochemical: Inflammation can be corrected with oral medications and/or corticosteroid injections.”
- Neurological: Knowledge (see second bullet point above), meditation, exercise, and healthful sleep. Ketamine is a powerful adjunctive treatment to enhance resilience in these areas.
Finally, as a last resort, some patients may opt for surgery to deal with chronic pain, especially any caused by spinal stenosis or herniated discs. Surgery can be successful for some types of chronic pain, but some types of chronic pain can actually be caused by surgery. We recommend trying less invasive therapies before opting for surgery unless a specific, surgically treatable condition exists.
TREATING CHRONIC PAIN
Depending on your pain level, duration of the pain, and overall health, a doctor or specialist could recommend different treatment options to choose from. Chronic pain symptoms could be minimized with physical or psychotherapy, self-help, meditation, light exercise, and dietary or lifestyle changes.
THE POWER OF KETAMINE
Besides being used as an anesthetic, ketamine also works as a powerful, non-narcotic pain inhibitor. Since the medicine was synthesized in the early 1960s, evidence – both anecdotal and scientific – has been uncovered that shows ketamine also works to dramatically relieve symptoms of many chronic pain conditions. Northwest Ketamine Clinics is uniquely equipped to help. We have provided thousands of ketamine infusions and have more experience using ketamine for chronic pain than any other outpatient clinics in the region. Our board-certified nurse anesthesiologist will help develop a plan of care, and personalize your ketamine infusions to give you the highest chances of a successful outcome. Ketamine is not right for all pain conditions, but if your type of pain is a type that can be relieved with ketamine, call us. This may be the treatment you’ve been searching for.
This is a battle you can win, but you may need to step out of your comfort zone to acquire the right tools. If you or a loved one are battling the symptoms of chronic pain we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine.