Chronic Pain Treatment

Chronic Pain Affects an Estimated 50 Million Adults in the United States

Chronic pain is a major public health problem that affects people of all ages and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), chronic pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. While chronic pain tends to run in families, the exact cause of the condition is not fully understood.

Living with chronic pain can be extremely challenging and affect an individual’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It can also significantly impact an individual’s daily functioning and ability to participate in work and leisure activities.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?

Some of the most common symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Joint pain: This type of pain occurs in the joints, which are the points at which two bones meet. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including inflammation, injury, and degenerative conditions such as arthritis.
  • Muscle aches: Chronic muscle pain is often characterized by a persistent, deep-seated discomfort that can be difficult to pinpoint. It may be caused by muscle strain, overuse, or underlying medical conditions such as fibromyalgia.
  • Burning pain: This type of pain is characterized by a hot, burning sensation that can be very uncomfortable. It may be caused by nerve damage or inflammation.
  • Fatigue: Chronic pain can often lead to feelings of tiredness and fatigue, as it can be physically and emotionally draining.
  • Sleep problems: Chronic pain can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Loss of interest in sex: Chronic pain can also impact one’s libido and ability to enjoy sexual activity.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse: Some people may turn to substance abuse as a way of coping with chronic pain, which can lead to further problems.
  • Marriage or relationship problems: Chronic pain can put a strain on relationships, as it can be difficult for partners to understand and support one another.
  • Job loss: Chronic pain can also have a negative impact on one’s work life, potentially leading to absenteeism and job loss.
  • Suicidal thoughts: Chronic pain’s persistent and often debilitating nature can lead to feelings of hopelessness and even thoughts of suicide. It is important to seek help if you are experiencing these thoughts.

How Ketamine Works

Recent evidence points to ketamine’s inhibitory effects on the NMDA receptor in the lateral habenula. The lateral habenula is a brain region primarily responsible for encoding negative rewards or anti-reward cause-and-effect relationships. Those with chronic pain often show an overactivity of NMDA receptors. As a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, ketamine prevents glutamate from activating the NMDA receptor.

The inhibition of the NMDA receptor may cause a build-up of free glutamate, which then activates the AMPA receptors. When surplus glutamate activates the AMPA receptor, it releases a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. BDNF, in interaction with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), promotes new neural growth. This new growth may reroute the brain from hyperactive areas associated with negative reward signals, thereby providing long-term relief from mental health and chronic pain conditions.

Boosting Endorphins in the Central Nervous System

Many studies suggest that ketamine stimulates the production of endorphins, natural compounds that can reduce pain. Endorphins are related to improved well-being, greater energy, heightened focus, and diminished anxiety. By increasing levels of endorphins, ketamine may work proactively to prevent severe levels of chronic pain in the future.

Decreasing Neural Signals That Could Exacerbate Chronic Soreness

According to recent studies, intravenous ketamine can prevent the brain from sending numerous neural signals, and the medication could reduce signals related to chronic pain. Generally, ketamine can decrease neural signals for more than two weeks.

Working Against Chronic Stress

Ketamine can substantially reduce levels of cortisol. The reduction in cortisol likely means ketamine is effective at reducing chronic stress. Chronic stress reduces cognitive capacity and long-term memory and hampers critical thinking. Ketamine may, over time, reverse these effects, yielding higher cognitive performance, better retention, and more task focus resulting in improved critical thinking.

Getting Relief

Ketamine infusion therapy has shown promise in the treatment of chronic pain and may be able to provide relief where other treatments have failed. The medication is believed to work by increasing the production of endorphins, natural pain-relieving substances produced by the body. It may also work by desensitizing overactive nerves and improving overall well-being.

If you are living with chronic pain and are seeking relief, consider seeking treatment at Renew Health in Allen, Texas. Our team of expert and compassionate providers is dedicated to helping individuals find relief from their chronic pain and get back to living their lives to the fullest. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you on your journey to recovery.

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