According to the World Health Organization, chronic pain is one of the top 20 causes of disability worldwide. While chronic pain does tend to run in families, researchers are still unsure exactly what causes someone to develop chronic pain.
When an individual suffers chronic pain, their whole life can be thrown out of balance. Ketamine can treat chronic pain symptoms, giving many another chance at life. Ketamine treatments have a host of positive effects on chronic pain. It increases endorphin production, desensitizes overactive nerves, and improves well-being.
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 depression and anxiety show an overactivity of burst firing in the lateral habenula. 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 the 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 conditions and chronic pain conditions.
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.
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.
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.
Chronic pain can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, and engage in activities you enjoy, and it can also lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
In addition to these emotional and social effects, chronic pain can also have serious physical consequences. Chronic pain can cause changes in the nervous system that make the pain worse over time, leading to muscle weakness, stiffness, and decreased mobility. These physical changes can make it more difficult to perform everyday tasks and increase your risk of falls and other accidents.
Elevate Infusion Therapy is focused on bringing our patients the latest evidence-based treatment options to help improve both physical and mental health. If you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain, it’s time to find relief. Elevate infusion therapy is here to help. Contact us today!