Ketamine Infusion Therapy for CRPS
Imagine living with chronic pain without any explanation or treatment. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a nightmare that nearly 200,000 Americans live with every day. But it doesn’t have to be. A proven treatment option is essential for patients suffering from near-constant pain. Research has provided some hope for patients suffering from near-constant pain. Ketamine infusion therapy for CRPS symptom management may be an effective first-line defense.
What is CRPS?
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a chronic neuroinflammatory disorder characterized by severe pain that is not proportional to the initial injury. When trauma-related tissue injury causes the nervous system and immune system to malfunction, CRPS can occur and the brain sends constant pain signals. The pain is described by patients as “burning,” tearing, or stinging sensations deep within the limbs. This condition is associated with pain levels that are among the worst on the McGill University Pain Scale. It is considered more severe than natural childbirth, amputation, and the physical effects of terminal cancer.
What Are The Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
There is no one diagnostic tool for CRPS. The diagnosis is made based on the patient’s medical history, lab results, and physical examinations. Doctors must still rule out any other conditions that could explain the patient’s pain before deciding to diagnose CRPS. Despite the many difficulties patients have in obtaining a diagnosis there are some symptoms that indicate CRPS.
- Constant, unprovoked burning pain or throbbing, often in the arms, legs, or feet.
- A traumatic injury or event that causes severe pain, or where the pain doesn’t subside with healing.
- Changes in skin temperature–alternating between sweating and chills.
- Skin color changes, from white and blotchy skin to reddish or blue.
- Skin texture changes, such as a change in thickness, tenderness, or shine in the affected areas.
- Joint stiffness, swelling, or damage.
- Muscle spasms or weakness (atrophy), tremors, muscle spasms, or weakness.
- Reduced mobility in the affected area.
- Emotional disturbances and insomnia.
Individual symptoms will vary and could change. However, if the pain is worsening or is more severe than the original injury, it may be CRPS.
What are the Treatment Options for CRPS
Current treatment options include a combination of a variety of treatments, such as physical, behavioral, and medical therapies. Although doctors may try many different approaches to treating CRPS, their effectiveness is limited by the weakest link. For patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, traditional pharmacological methods for pain relief are not practical or effective.
CRPS activates NMDA and receptors in brains, making sufferers more sensitive to pain and less sensitive to the effects of opiates. This inverted relationship can be fatal, especially for those suffering from chronic pain. It might seem easy to think that decreasing pain levels equals greater pain relief. However, this is not the case when it comes down to managing CRPS. This treatment plan is more likely to cause adverse side effects because patients are less likely to feel the pain-relieving effects.
Opiate medication can cause respiratory depression, immune system weakness, and, strangely, an increase in pain response as the body develops a tolerance. The FDA considers opiate medication to be one of the most addictive class of drugs currently approved. This has contributed to more than 45,000 deaths in 2018.
Treatment of CRPS using Ketamine Infusion Therapy
Ketamine is an NMDA antagonist. This means it blocks the activity of CRPS activating NMDA cells in the brain. Patients can experience decreased CRPS-related discomfort by blocking certain neurotransmitters binding to these receptors. Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist. It also has a strong analgesic effect when intravenously administered. This mirrors the therapeutic benefits of opiate drugs for people who don’t suffer from CRPS.
For acute pain treatment, ketamine should be administered at 1 mg/kg/hr. However, this can be adjusted to meet individual patient needs. This treatment protocol is used to manage CRPS symptoms.
A 6-hour session of high-dose ketamine injection therapy (4 hours active infusion, 2 hours active recovery) before you are released to go home.
Maintenance infusions are given every 6-8 weeks, depending on the need. Ketamine is a well-recognized treatment for major depression. Patients can also experience relief almost immediately after receiving IV ketamine therapy. To learn more about IV Ketamine infusion therapy call Florida Medical Pain Management today!