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CHRONIC PAIN SYNDROMES
Chronic pain starts with an acute injury or illness. If the pain of this injury or illness lasts longer than six months, it is then deemed chronic pain. Sometimes, chronic pain consequently causes complications. These complications, in turn, can make the pain worse. A chronic pain syndrome is the combination of chronic pain and the secondary complications that are making the original pain worse.
The complications discussed above can lead to further problems over time. For example, many people tend to have trouble sleeping because of pain. They become so tired and their patience worn so thin that everything starts annoying them. They also find that coping with chronic pain gets harder and harder to do. Some people must stop working, due to the pain. With job loss, they will likely experience financial problems. Chronic pain can also affect the roles people have in their family. They miss out on children’s activities, family functions, and parties with friends because the pain is excruciating. As a result, many people struggle with guilt. Guilt is not the only emotion that is common to living with chronic pain, there are so many more. Chronic pain often leads to depression, anxiety, loss of enjoyment in life, inability to cope or have patience and so on and so on. These mental and emotional symptoms only compound the problems and life can quickly become unbearable.
Some of the more well-known types of chronic pain syndromes are chronic back, neck, and any chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, post herpetic neuralgia, phantom limb pain, trigeminal neuralgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, sciatica, arachnoiditis, severe arthritis, and so many more.
Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS
One of the most painful and prominent of the chronic pain syndromes is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It is estimated that 200,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with CRPS. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke CRPS is “a chronic (lasting greater than six months) pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury.” Also sometimes referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), CRPS is categorized into two types: CRPS-I, (previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome), occurs after any form of trauma, particularly a fracture or soft tissue lesion; however, there is not a confirmed nerve injury along with that injury. CRPS-II, (previously known as causalgia) is when there is an associated, confirmed nerve injury. As some research has identified evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-I, it is unclear if these disorders will always be divided into two types. Nonetheless, the treatment is similar.
CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord; the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area. CRPS is incredibly painful, debilitating, and impacts every area of a person’s life. CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration, although some cases are mild and eventually go away. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability.
Managing chronic pain syndromes and the debilitating symptoms associated with them can be a challenge. While conventional therapies and modalities, such as high doses of narcotics, other medications, and behavioral and physical therapies can help keep pain under control, most pain sufferers need ongoing treatment. Unfortunately, prescription drugs have many unwanted side effects and some patients become drug resistant.
Can Ketamine help treat Chronic Pain Syndromes?
Ketamine infusion therapy is a viable treatment option for managing chronic pain syndromes, especially CRPS, and may be particularly effective for patients who have become resistant to narcotics and other pain-relieving treatments.
Ketamine therapy offers promising results for pain sufferers and may be a viable alternative to most conventional treatments for CRPS. Ketamine works by resetting the central nervous system’s sensitization to pain, thereby providing relief. Unlike opiates which make patients more sensitive to pain over time, ketamine helps quiet the brain and pain pathways during treatment and restores normal processing of pain in the brain to help provide longer-term relief.
Studies show ketamine infusions are safe and efficacious treatments for managing CRPS in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Ketamine therapy can treat neuropathic pain that would otherwise require large doses of narcotics or other medications. Ketamine infusion therapy may be just what chronic pain sufferers need to get relief from pain symptoms without any side effects.
About Ketamine Therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center
At Wyoming Wellness Center, we offer the best possible care in our state-of-the-art facility. Our highly experienced, trained, and compassionate team consist of providers who have carefully considered the research and results of IV ketamine infusion therapy.
Chronic pain Ketamine infusion therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center will start of an initial meeting with our mental health provider. From that meeting, you and our team will develop a plan for the course of care to be provided. If ketamine therapy is determined to be a good treatment option, it will initially consist of 6 infusions:
3 infusions week 1
1 infusion week 3
1 infusion week 5
1 infusion week 9
Within this time frame, our team will work with you to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment, provide you with support, and collaborate with your primary mental health provider to assist you in learning skills and meeting your goals.
After your initial 6 infusions you will come back for "Booster" infusions on an as needed basis, based upon your symptoms and pain. Usually that is every 4-6 weeks but it may be more often or less but it may be more often or less based on your individual pain and symptoms.
Our staff at Wyoming Wellness Center recognize that every patient is unique and that individual responses to ketamine infusions will vary. Therefore, we will tailor your treatment course to you and your body’s needs. Your individual symptoms, needs, and goals of care will determine your course of treatment.
When you undergo ketamine therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center you are closely monitored by our highly experienced providers and nurses. We use hospital grade equipment to monitor all your vital signs, just like an ICU setting. You will be kept safe, in a comfortable, quiet, and relaxing environment.
Some patients experience short-term dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, but these sensations usually disappear rapidly. After 50 years of ketamine being administered at much higher doses, and approximately 10+ years of research on ketamine treatment for mood and pain disorders, there have been no long-term side effects noted at these low doses.
Following your initial treatment series, we will follow up with you, your primary care provider and your mental health provider to monitor your depressive symptoms, ensure your mental health counseling is progressing well and determine your need for maintenance infusions.
Over the last 10+ years, ketamine has been used successfully in treating mental health and chronic pain disorders. However, because it is not approved by the FDA for this secondary use, almost all insurance companies will not pay for ketamine infusion therapy. For that reason, we do not bill insurance companies. We will provide you with statements and the necessary billing codes, in the form of a superbill, for you to file a claim, if you desire to do so, and request a superbill from us.
If you or someone you love is in the grip of ongoing depression, ketamine treatment for mood disorders may help.
For further information you can also check out the links below:
Institute for Chronic Pain
Pain Advocacy Coalition
The American Chronic Pain Association
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet