To begin, let us first delve into the definition of neuropathic pain: Damage or injury to the nerves that transfer information throughout the body can result in excruciating burning sensations, numbness, and/or sensitivity to touch. Surgery, trauma, viral infections, cancer, vascular malformations, alcoholism, neurological conditions, and metabolic conditions are all common causes of neuropathic pain. There is no identifiable cause. It is also common for neuropathic pain to be chronic. With all this said, the traditional treatment is to dull the symptoms with prescribed pain medication, nerve blocks and other injections. Unfortunately, these traditional methods of dealing with neuropathic pain are ineffective because they merely mask the pain. These treatments do very little to address the underlying issues causing the pain and are often accompanied by significant, long-term side effects.
Traditional Pain Management Methods and Side-Effects
The pharmacological guidelines, for the treatment of neuropathic pain, illustrate three stages of drug therapy. The first-line of therapy includes a combination of gabapentinoids, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI). These drugs often cause lethargy, nausea, and other disruptions to normal bodily functions. Lidocaine, Capsaicin, and Tramadol are the second-line treatment drugs. The second-line drugs have also been known to cause lethargy, nausea, seizures, rashes, and ataxia. Ataxia is a degenerative disease of the nervous system, an example of the harmful long-term effects these drugs can have. Lastly, the third-line of treatment includes the strong opioids Morphine and Oxycodone. These are highly addictive substances that can easily be abused if using long-term to treat chronic pain. The side effects also include lethargy, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.
Furthermore, studies show that only 30-40% of patients using a combination of these drugs experience adequate to good pain relief. You may now find yourself asking: so, is there a better way to deal with neuropathic pain? Yes, through ketamine infusion therapy.
Using Ketamine for Neuropathic Pain
To understand why ketamine injections are a more effective treatment, it is important to understand how ketamine works in the body. Firstly, all humans have NMDA receptors that are heavily distributed in the spinal cord and brain. These receptors play an important role in communicating with the central nervous system. For people dealing with neuropathic pain, these receptors are overly active, known as the wind-up phenomena. Ketamine works to inhibit the NMDA receptors. By inhibiting the receptors, ketamine minimizes the transmission of pain signals from the brain to the NMDA receptors throughout the body. Ultimately, this decreases the amount of nerve pain felt by someone. In addition, the continuous therapeutic administration of ketamine can work to decrease the up-regulation of the NMDA receptors; thus, reducing the hypersensitivity of nerves and pain perception.
Another study showed that ketamine stimulates the innate repair receptor (IRR). This is crucial for tissue repair and anti-inflammation around nerve damage. Again, this shows that ketamine temporarily eases pain while also working to heal nerve damage and lessen it’s harmful effects in a more long-term way.
Where to Find Reliable Ketamine Therapy
Ketamine, when used properly and administered by a trained professional, could be a great alternative path to dealing with neuropathic pain. It is important to find a doctor who specializes in ketamine infusions and you feel you can trust. With the right medical professional, you will have the opportunity to build a personal pain management plan that works for you. Dr. Philip Hansen, of Albany Ketamine Infusions, is dedicated to safely bringing this innovative therapy to patients plagued emotionally and physically by their pain. His extensive medical background paired with compassion and kindness could help improve your everyday life. If you have been struggling with neuropathic pain, or have more questions about ketamine infusions visit: https://albanyketamine.com/. You can also reach Dr. Hansen via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (518) 500-4113.