Ketamine is an anesthetic that has powerful pain-relieving qualities. At Premier Pain Consultants in San Antonio, Texas, fellowship-trained Dmitriy Buyanov, MD, and his team treat chronic pain patients with ketamine infusions. These treatments can be effective for long-term pain even when other methods fail. Call Premier Pain Consultants to learn more about ketamine infusions, or book a consultation online today.
Ketamine infusions deliver powerful medication directly into your bloodstream, helping control persistent, severe pain. Ketamine was originally an anesthetic for surgery, but more recently, it’s become a valuable therapy for various mental health and chronic pain conditions.
The infusion is a liquid mixed with a carefully predetermined dose of ketamine to reduce pain without causing adverse effects. Infusions are among the safest, most effective ways of administering ketamine and are becoming increasingly popular pain management treatments.
Ketamine acts on your brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. The neurotransmitter (brain chemical) glutamate switches on NMDA receptors, increasing alertness.
Ketamine prevents glutamate from activating NMDA receptors and increases gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABA) levels, so you feel relaxed and slowed down.
At higher doses, ketamine affects the opioid receptors in your brain, which helps reduce pain. It can also block sodium and potassium channels like a local anesthetic.
Ketamine is a powerful medication, so it won’t be the first treatment Premier Pain Consultants offers you. The team typically uses conservative approaches at first, such as physical therapy, activity modification, and medication. Steroid injections can help if the initial treatment doesn’t reduce your symptoms.
If your pain still doesn’t improve, your provider may suggest ketamine infusions. This treatment is particularly effective for patients with neuropathic (nerve) pain and challenging conditions like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Ketamine infusions take place in comfortable treatment rooms at the Premier Pain Consultants office. Your provider inserts a needle into your arm vein and attaches it to a cannula — a slim, flexible tube down which the infusion slowly drips from a bag suspended above your head.
Infusions take 40-60 minutes. You must stay seated but can read, listen to music, nap, or entertain yourself on an electronic device to pass the time.
During the infusion, staff monitors you to ensure you experience no adverse effects. They also observe you for a while afterward.
When you’re ready to go home, have someone there to accompany you — you mustn’t drive or operate machinery after a ketamine infusion. Most patients experience pain reduction after one infusion, but you may need several or regular infusions for optimal results.
Call Premier Pain Consultants to learn more about relieving pain with ketamine infusions, or schedule a consultation online today.