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How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Works to Help Chronic Pain and Depression

Chronic pain and depression are health conditions that often go hand in hand. Many people who suffer from long-term pain and health problems, like neuropathy and spinal pain, also suffer from depression. After all, when you wake up each day faced with debilitating pain, it’s understandable that you become less enthusiastic, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness can overwhelm you. 

Here at Pain Specialty Group in Newington, New Hampshire, we serve patients of the Seacoast and Maine who need pain relief. Dr. Anh Ngo and Dr. Manuel Sanchez take a compassionate, individualized approach to helping you improve your life with chronic pain, depression, or both. 

If you’ve tried a variety of treatments for pain or depression, but have had little success, ketamine infusion therapy may be the solution you’re looking for. Take a few minutes to learn about how this cutting-edge therapy can help you manage your symptoms and enjoy a happier, more active lifestyle. 

The basics of intravenous ketamine infusion therapy

Popular for surgical use for its anesthetic properties since the 1960s, ketamine has been used to treat chronic pain and depression for more than 10 years. Using lower doses than are needed for anesthesia, intravenous (IV) ketamine infusions ease pain and reduce feelings of depression, including severe depression. While it’s not entirely clear how ketamine works, it’s likely that it affects the receptors in your brain that contribute to your feelings of pain and despair. 

When ketamine binds to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in your brain, it helps increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate activates connections in another brain receptor, which triggers the release of molecules that help neurons find new pathways to communicate with each other in your brain. This process is called synaptogenesis, and it’s thought to affect your mood and thought patterns. 

Ketamine is also thought to reduce signals in your brain that are connected to inflammation. Ultimately, ketamine works in several ways simultaneously to ease your sense of pain through its anesthetic properties and to improve your mood and the way you think about things, thus alleviating feelings of depression and hopelessness. 

Ketamine infusion therapy may provide relief when other medications don’t

As noted above, ketamine infusion therapy as a treatment for chronic pain and depression is not considered a first line of defense. When you’ve already exhausted traditional therapies and medications, but you’re not able to achieve long-term pain relief or reduce your symptoms of depression, ketamine infusions may be the alternative solution that finally provides lasting relief.

Additionally, addictive opioid pain medications have become an epidemic in our society. If you’re looking to become less dependent on opioids for chronic pain, IV ketamine infusions offer a controlled, often immediate effect on pain. For example, if you have to keep increasing the amount of pain pills you need just to get through your day, ketamine infusion therapy may allow you to take less medication or eliminate it altogether, and provide relief from chronic, debilitating pain. 

Ketamine infusion therapy often works faster on pain and depression

When it comes to treating depression, you typically have to take a prescription antidepressant for a month or more before it builds up enough within your system for you to notice a difference. So you might take medications for a month before your feelings of hopelessness and depression begin to subside. On top of that, you may need to try multiple medications before you find one that works.

With IV ketamine infusion therapy, it’s possible to experience an improvement in your pain or mood within just a few hours after your appointment at Pain Specialty Group. Studies indicate that if you feel an improvement from ketamine after the first 1-3 infusions, you are more likely to extend these positive effects with additional ketamine infusions over the course of several weeks. Our doctors create a customized ketamine infusion therapy plan based on your individual needs and its effects on your pain or depression. 

After the initial treatment, you work with your doctor to determine if regular maintenance treatments spaced at longer intervals than your first few ketamine infusions are beneficial to helping you maintain your positive results. Our board-certified physicians may also recommend ketamine infusion therapy in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatments as a holistic approach to helping you manage pain and depression for the long term. 

Being unable to successfully manage your chronic pain and depression can lead to increased symptoms and feelings of hopelessness that you’ll never feel better again. At Pain Specialty Group, we can help you get your life back. Even if you’ve tried other approaches to pain management and daily thoughts of despair without success, don’t lose hope.

Give us a call at our recently opened clinic in Newington, New Hampshire, at 603-319-1151, or click here to request an appointment online. We are conveniently located to address the pain concerns of people living in the Seacoast region and Portsmouth area.

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