Chronic pain is a growing problem in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 20% of the population has chronic pain, and 7% of those individuals have such severe chronic pain that it limits their life and work activities.
From surgery to injections, there are many treatments available for chronic pain, but, unfortunately, they don’t always work. And when it goes untreated and unmanaged, both your physical and emotional well-being suffer.
At Avesta Ketamine and Wellness, in Washington, DC, Bethesda, Maryland and McLean, Virginia, we offer a better solution to pain management. Our team of experts is proud to provide ketamine infusion therapy as an option for patients like you who haven’t found pain relief with traditional methods.
A closer look at treatment-resistant pain
At times, pain is a good thing. It’s your body’s main way of communicating with you and telling you when something is wrong, but it isn’t meant to last. Your pain becomes chronic when it lasts for 3-6 months (in some cases years) and doesn’t respond to treatment.
The source of chronic pain can be hard to determine, but it typically stems from conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Nerve damage
- Lyme disease
- Surgical trauma
- Other health problems like cancer
If you have chronic pain, your pain persists even after addressing the underlying health condition. This is believed to be the result of a breakdown of communication between your brain and nervous system. Chronic pain impacts the way your nerve cells transmit and process sensory input, making them overly sensitive to pain.
Sometimes, your pain doesn’t have an apparent trigger, which can make finding an effective treatment difficult. Often, our patients who haven’t found relief through traditional pain relief methods have benefited from ketamine infusions. We take the time to understand your unique situation to determine if they’re right for you.
Ketamine and chronic pain
Chances are that the first time you heard about ketamine, it was in reference to an illegal drug called Special K. While ketamine got a bad reputation on the streets, it’s actually been used in clinical practice since the 1970s as an anesthetic for both people and animals.
Ketamine is also an effective treatment for chronic pain, because it blocks certain pain receptors and interrupts pain signals making their way to your brain. It also works to “reset” some of the nerve cells in your brain and spine, which facilitates more efficient communication within your nervous system and helps to reduce your pain symptoms.
What to expect from ketamine infusions
As with any new treatment, we understand if you have questions about ketamine infusions and how they work. We’re here to address all of your concerns, so you can feel confident about your treatment plan. Here are some of the questions we get asked most often.
How do ketamine infusions work?
Ketamine infusions are delivered intravenously. You’ll recline comfortably as a member of our highly trained staff places the IV in your arm, which slowly releases ketamine directly into your bloodstream.
Because it goes straight into your bloodstream, ketamine infusions are much more potent and fast-acting than other ketamine therapies, like pills or nasal sprays. Ketamine works quickly to diffuse pain signals and reduce your pain.
Are there any risks?
Ketamine infusions are minimally invasive, which means you won’t spend hours or days in recovery. They also rarely cause any side effects, especially if you’re in good health, so there’s little to no risk of an adverse reaction. You may experience some mild hallucinations or dysphoria during your treatment, but we can adjust the dosage if you’re uncomfortable.
Before recommending ketamine infusions, we conduct a thorough psychological and physical evaluation to ensure that you’re a good candidate.
We have complete control over the dosage of ketamine during your treatment sessions, and we can make adjustments based on your needs. We also closely monitor your heart rate and oxygen levels throughout to ensure your safety and comfort.
Bonus, ketamine infusions aren’t addictive when administered in the correct doses by our trained professionals. This means you can manage your pain without taking potentially addictive prescription medication.
How many sessions will I need?
Typically, your treatment plan begins with a series of treatments spread out over the course of 2-3 weeks, and we may add additional treatments if your situation requires it. You should experience relief shortly after your treatment.
Have more questions about ketamine infusions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly staff. To schedule a consultation, call our office most convenient for you or request an appointment online today.