Chronic Pain Q & A
What is chronic pain?
Everyone experiences pain now and then. Minor injuries or illnesses often trigger pain that lasts for a few days or weeks. In time, your pain usually disappears.
But sometimes, your pain might not go away. Instead, some illnesses and injuries cause lasting pain. This chronic pain can interfere with your quality of life. It can even affect your mental health.
What causes chronic pain?
Doctors believe that chronic pain results from problems with your body's pain sensors. The pain sensors in your body activate during an illness or injury. They typically deactivate once you recover. But sometimes, your pain sensors continue sending signals to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as unresolved pain.
Conditions linked to chronic pain include:
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
You might develop chronic pain if you have an autoimmune disease or widespread infection. Past surgeries can also disrupt the pain sensors in your body.
How is chronic pain treated?
In the past, doctors often treated chronic pain with painkillers. Opioid drugs are especially useful for eliminating pain, but these drugs have a high potential for addiction.
Many people who use prescription painkillers become dependent on these drugs. Some even experience life-threatening overdoses. To avoid these outcomes, your medical team may prefer to avoid opioids.
If opioids aren't an option for you, ketamine is a promising alternative. This drug works on NMDA receptors in your brain. By blocking these receptors, ketamine opens up pathways and creates new synapses. Ketamine may even repair damage caused by past injuries and illnesses.
The drug also has a powerful effect on many patients' moods. Chronic pain is often linked to depression. But by restoring a healthy brain structure, ketamine provides relief from depression and fatigue.
Can ketamine help my chronic pain?
Studies have shown that about 75% of patients respond well to ketamine. Many people who try ketamine report rapid improvement. Some experience relief within 24 hours.
If you decide to try ketamine, your provider helps you choose how to receive your medication. Boston MindCare, PC, offers several options, including:
- Nasal sprays
- Oral drugs
- IV infusions
- Intramuscular injections
No matter which method you choose, you receive ongoing supervision and support. The Boston MindCare, PC, team works with you over several weeks or months. They deliver the support you need to achieve lasting results.