Suffering through chronic pain may make you feel isolated and alone, but in fact you have plenty of company. It’s estimated that 100 million Americans, about 1 in 10, have experienced episodes of pain lasting three months or longer, part of the 1.5 billion chronic pain sufferers worldwide. Chronic pain is the No. 1 reason behind long-term disability in the United States.
When pain becomes chronic, it’s sometimes difficult to adequately diagnose the reasons behind it, particularly when a physical reason for the pain has healed or remains a mystery. Treatment can end up as a hit-or-miss proposition, where pain management proceeds on a case-by-case basis. What works for one patient with chronic pain may not work for another.
Such is the complexity of your nervous system that pain can occur without an attributable cause. You need look no further than the condition called phantom limb syndrome, where some amputees feel sensations from limbs that are no longer there.
While your arms and legs may still be intact, it’s possible for nerves to function improperly, such as after an injury or in the case of conditions such as complex regional pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. This type of pain is medically known as neuropathic pain.
The prevalence of chronic pain has, in part, contributed to the world’s opioid crisis, since this class of drug is sometimes the only analgesic that effectively masks neuropathic pain. Since the side effects of these drugs can be substantial and addictive, both patient and doctor prefer alternate methods of pain management.
The medication generically named ketamine is an analgesic and anesthetic commonly used in medical settings. Because it’s both effective and safe, it found extensive surgical use in the latter part of the Vietnam War.
Delivered clinically in intravenous (IV) form, a ketamine infusion first reduces the perception of pain, but it also increases your sensitivity to other pain-relieving medications. This property is helpful in reducing your dependence on other analgesics.
Every chronic pain management situation is unique, and ketamine infusions may play a role in your treatment. When you come to Westside Pain Specialists for treatment, Dr. Nassiri reviews your history of chronic pain and works with you to devise a pain management plan. If your plan includes ketamine infusions, your treatments occur under close medical supervision.
Typical patient response to the ketamine IV is positive. You may feel a relaxing, floating sensation due to the mild hallucinatory effects of the medication. This is dependent on your level of pain and the amount of ketamine you receive.
Some patients require additional booster treatments to prolong the effects of the infusion. This is something you’ll discuss with Dr. Nassiri as part of your pain management plan.
There’s no reason for you to endure ongoing chronic pain. Dr. Nassiri and the team at Westside Pain Specialists are ready to partner with you in living a happy, healthy, pain-free life. Call or click today to book your consultation.