Opioid addiction has increased by over 500% in the last seven years—there is hardly an American who doesn’t know someone who is addicted, who has been directly affected by opiate addiction, or who is addicted himself. In response to this epidemic, the CDC has enacted changes to the way doctors may administer and prescribe opiates. This has left many chronic pain patients frustrated and in fear of losing access to the medications that keep them functional.
In an exciting development, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine published the first set of guidelines for the use of ketamine for treating pain—a framework for doctors and institutions, who should get it, and who should not. Ketamine infusions have emerged as a leading option for the treatment of both chronic and acute pain. Some chronic pain patients report a reduction in pain symptoms for up to six months post-infusion. The World Health Organization lists ketamine as an essential medicine, primarily for its analgesic qualities.
From CRPS to Lyme disease, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and more, ketamine infusions have proven to be one of the most effective chronic pain management options. For many of our patients who receive ketamine infusions for the treatment of CRPS and other chronic pain conditions, these infusions have been life-changing. After receiving ketamine infusions, many patients find their pain levels manageable enough that they can return to a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. And isn’t that the goal?
Ketamine has been around since the 60s. A popular battlefield anesthetic used liberally in the Vietnam war, ketamine has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, emerging as a powerful treatment for depression, anxiety, psychiatric disorders, and various chronic pain conditions. It's renaissance in the realm of pain management is controversial, though—according to the National Pain Report and clinicians around the country—it should not be overlooked.
At Vitalitas Denver, we use ketamine to treat patients suffering from a wide range of chronic pain conditions. From CRPS and fibromyalgia to Lyme disease and more, ketamine is absolutely one of the most effective non-opioid pain management options available to those suffering from chronic pain. But there is another condition that we’ve been able to treat remarkably successfully through the administration of ketamine infusions: migraine headaches.
A difficult-to-diagnose bacterial infection caused by specific types of tick bites, Lyme disease – and, more specifically, chronic Lyme disease – is a debilitating condition that can leave patients with a worse quality of life than those suffering from such disorders as congestive heart failure, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. The symptoms of Lyme are diverse: fatigue, trouble sleeping, joint and muscle pain, depression, cognitive impairment, neuropathy, and headaches are just a few of the manifestations. No matter how chronic Lyme disease presents itself, the impact is almost always devastating.
You may or may not be familiar with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a rare – and often misunderstood – chronic pain condition. Doctors and researchers don’t understand exactly how or why CRPS develops, though it generally occurs after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, and results in pain that is far worse than that of the initial injury. Like most chronic pain conditions, CRPS can improve – and can even go into remission! Of course, early intervention is key to generating the most effective pain management results.
It’s estimated that 36 million people in the United States struggle with opiate addiction. More than 80% of these addictions started with a prescribed opiate painkiller. With the opioid crisis officially declared a National State of Emergency, it’s important to know what your non-narcotic pain management options are in order to prevent substance abuse and addiction issues for you or your loved ones.
Ketamine has made quite a few headlines as of late. Originally introduced as an emergency room and battlefield anesthetic in the 1970s, ketamine has recently been heralded by emergency physicians and chronic pain specialists for its ability to treat chronic pain, and by mental healthcare practitioners for its ability to change the lives of patients suffering from even the most severe, treatment-resistant cases of depression.