According to the CDC, around 4 million Americans, or 2% of the adult population, suffer from fibromyalgia, making it one of the most common complex pain disorders. Despite this, fibromyalgia remains a mysterious condition that is notoriously difficult to treat, and medical researchers are still trying to learn exactly what causes fibromyalgia pain.
If you live with fibromyalgia, you are probably well aware of the excruciating pain it can cause in many parts of your body and the limited effects that opiates and other conventional painkillers have when it comes to treating fibromyalgia pain. However, an exciting breakthrough in fibromyalgia pain management has come in the form of ketamine infusion therapy.
How can ketamine infusion therapy help treat fibromyalgia pain?
Ketamine has an unsavory reputation as a party drug, abused for its dissociative effects, but doctors and other medical professionals have been using ketamine for decades as a safe and reliable anesthesia drug -- you've probably already taken it if you've ever had an operation under general anesthetic. However, recent studies have shown that controlled doses of ketamine can provide real relief for people suffering from a variety of pain disorders.
The key to ketamine's success as a pain management medication is the way it interacts with the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors in your brain and spinal cord. These receptors react to chemicals that are produced in your body when you are injured or ill, and cause the sensation of pain in the affected part of the body. Scientists believe that some kind of defect in the way your NMDA receptors work is responsible for causing the widespread pain, tenderness, and sensitivity to touch that characterize most fibromyalgia cases.
Ketamine does not stop your body from producing the pain-inducing chemicals -- instead, it prevents the NMDA receptors from reacting to them, and therefore reduces or eliminates the pain they cause. If these receptors are prevented from producing pain for long enough, they are given a chance to 'reset' the defects that can cause fibromyalgia pain. Ketamine infusion therapy is therefore capable of reducing fibromyalgia symptoms on a long-term basis, and may even result in a permanent lessening of the pain and tenderness you experience.
How does ketamine infusion therapy work?
If you are interested in the lasting benefits that ketamine infusion therapy can have for fibromyalgia patients, you should make an appointment with a reputable, accredited ketamine therapy center. Before treatment begins, you will be given a full medical examination so your suitability for ketamine treatment can be determined.
If you opt to undergo ketamine infusion therapy, you will be connected to an IV drip containing a weak ketamine solution, which is introduced slowly into your bloodstream over the course of about an hour. Although ketamine is a powerful anesthetic, ketamine infusion solutions are many times weaker than ketamine anesthetics used on small children -- while you may experience a little drowsiness and a tingling sensation in your limbs, your consciousness will not be significantly altered.
If you chose a reputable ketamine therapy clinic for your treatment, your infusion therapy will take place in a quiet, comfortable room where you can listen to music, chat with loved ones, and generally relax while the ketamine takes effect. Once the treatment is finished, you can travel home immediately (make sure you have someone to drive you home, as you may feel a little groggy for several hours).
For more information on ketamine infusion therapy, consult a resource in your area.