Ketamine Therapy for Post-Amputation Pain
Chronic pain can be a debilitating condition that can affect all aspect of an individuals’ life. Ketamine treatment for phantom limb pain can be especially successful because this type of pain is neuropathic in nature.
What is Post-Amputation Pain
Phantom limb pain can develop after an amputation or damage to the nerve cells of the affected area. Phantom limb pain is believed to result from the brain's continued perception of the missing limb, even though it is no longer there.
There are several mechanisms of action that might be at play:
Central Sensitization: The nervous system becomes more sensitive to pain signals, amplifying the perception of pain.
Neuromatrix Theory: Proposed by neuroscientist Ronald Melzack, this theory suggests that the brain has a "neuromatrix" that generates pain sensations. Even after amputation, this neuromatrix continues to generate pain signals.
Cortical Reorganization: After amputation, the brain's representation of the missing limb can change. The areas of the brain that used to represent the amputated limb may become active in response to stimulation, leading to the perception of pain.
Chronic pain can cause secondary depression as patients might be limited in the activities that they can perform including mobility and social interactions. The depression can then lead to loss of sleep and changes in appetite and suicidal ideation. Chronic pain can also lead to anxiety and stress that could lead to adrenal gland fatigue.
Traditional Treatments for Post-Amputation Pain
Managing phantom limb pain can be challenging. The following are some treatment options:
Medications: Pain medications, such as anticonvulsants or certain antidepressants, may be prescribed.
Mirror Therapy: This involves using a mirror to create the illusion that the missing limb is still there, which can help alleviate pain in some cases.
Virtual Reality: Immersive virtual reality experiences may help distract the brain and reduce phantom limb pain.
Physical Therapy: Techniques like massage, stretching, and desensitization exercises can be helpful.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): This involves applying mild electrical currents to the skin to help reduce pain.
Psychological Support: Counseling or therapy may be beneficial in helping individuals cope with the emotional and psychological aspects of phantom limb pain.
None of these modalities help treat the cause of pain as they are mainly aimed at treating and masking the symptoms. Many of these other modalities have their own side effects which are unpleasant and can sometimes leave individuals unable to enjoy social interactions or physical activities.
How Ketamine Treats Post-Amputation Pain
Ketamine treatment for post-amputation pain can be extremely effective if the pain is caused by inflammation of nerve cells as seen in CRPS and fibromyalgia. Ketamine works by binding to the NMDA receptor. This receptor modulates a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that promotes pain signaling from one neuron to the next and when too much glutamate is circulating in your nervous system it sensitizes the neurons. This all translates to more pain and inflammation.
Research studies on the efficacy of ketamine in treating chronic pain are showing that about 80% of patient will have a 50% reduction in pain with ketamine treatment
Ketamine treatment for post-amputation pain is an innovative treatment option. It helps treat the cause of pain vs. the symptoms of pain and thus can achieve a better outcome without being dependent on pills every day.
Why Choose Ketamine Therapy for Post-Amputation Pain
Ketamine treatment for chronic neuropathic pain gets at the root cause of the chronic pain by decreasing inflammation and resetting the pain signals and neurocircuitry.
Ketamine treatment for chronic neuropathic pain can help patients decrease their reliance on opiate medications and increase their recreational activities.
Ketamine treatment for chronic neuropathic pain can allow patients to become more independent and increase their overall quality of life.