Neuropathy Pain Treatment Ketamine Infusion

Intravenous Ketamine Infusions for Neuropathy Pain Treatment

When the human body experiences physical trauma, pain receptors in the brain are activated. In very simplistic terms, some chronic pain is caused by these pain receptors being activated although not in response to a physical injury. The most extreme example of this is having phantom limb pain. Suffering constant and chronic pain when there should be no response means there is a glitch in the neural system. If we were a computer that was glitching, we’d likely be restarted. This is where Ketamine infusions come into play. They are the computer restart equivalent for human beings.

 

Intravenous Ketamine Infusions for Neuropathy Pain Treatment

When the human body experiences physical trauma, pain receptors in the brain are activated. In very simplistic terms, some chronic pain is caused by these pain receptors being activated although not in response to a physical injury. The most extreme example of this is having phantom limb pain. Suffering constant and chronic pain when there should be no response means there is a glitch in the neural system. If we were a computer that was glitching, we’d likely be restarted. This is where Ketamine infusions come into play. They are the computer restart equivalent for human beings.

Ketamine was first used in the medical arena in the 1960’s. There are instances of it coming up in research in the 1950s however it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that enough had been learnt about it to be able to start utilising it effectively. This was around the same time scientists discovered the periaqueductal grey which is a part of the mid-brain. This part of the brain, when stimulated, causes pain sensations. When functioning correctly, this part of the brain and its relevant receptors act as an adaptive evolutionary development. Put simply, if something causes us pain, we register it and avoid it in the future so to ensure our survival.

One of the earliest uses of synthesised ketamine was in surgery as an anesthetic.

Ketamine is still used for trauma patients as it is not an opioid and can be used with minimal risk to patients who have critical wounds and need to undergo immediate surgery without having time to check allergies and so forth. It is a standard supply for war zones as a result. There are many uses and types of applications for ketamine. For people receiving ketamine for chronic pain, the dosage and way the dosage is administered differ significantly than those mentioned above who may suffer injuries on the battlefield (for example).

Since the 1960s, the clinical use of ketamine has been explored with case studies emerging that support the treatment of cancer patients with nerve injuries or pain. Other neuropathic conditions which have benefitted from ketamine infusions have included fibromyalgia, spinal cord injuries and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Ketamine has a unique chemical make-up.

This is particularly so when it comes to the neural pain receptor known as N-Methyl-d-Aspartate (NMDA), of which ketamine is an antagonist of. Other pain areas of the brain are also impacted by ketamine. These include the ‘anterior cingulate cortex, the orbital frontal cortex, the insula and brainstem’ (Niesters et al. 2012, p. 868). This results in reduced neuropathic pain which extends to assisting with migraines and temporomandibular pain.
There remains much to learn about ketamine and more trials to be completed before it is known how far-reaching its uses and benefits will be.

Reference
Niesters, M, Khalili-Mahani, N, Martini, C, Aarts, L, van Gerven, J, van Buchem, MA, Dahan, A & Rombouts, S, 2012, ‘Effect of subanesthetic ketamine on intrinsic functional brain connectivity: a placebo-controlled functional magnetic resonance imaging study in healthy male volunteers’, Anesthesiology, vol. 117, no. 4, pp. 868 – 877, doi:10.1097/ALN.0b013e31826a0db3.

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