You’ve had a long day at work. Running a forklift to and from your company’s warehouse is a lot harder than it was three or four months ago. In fact, when you go to bed every night, you lay awake from pain – which seems to come from everywhere and nowhere.
Pain is a normal part of human life – it is your body’s way of warning you that something is wrong. In most cases, your body heals and you stop hurting. For others, however, this pain continues long after you have healed and is more intense. This is known as chronic pain.
Approximately one in four people (25%) with chronic pain suffer from a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This is a condition that has symptoms more than just chronic pain, including depression and anxiety – symptoms that will interfere greatly in a person’s everyday life.
Although the symptoms can be debilitating, there is hope for relief thanks to treatments like counseling, physical therapy, medications, and ketamine infusions.
- Joint problems
- Back pain
- Muscle strains
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Nerve damage
- Lyme disease
- Broken bones
- Acid reflux
- Irritable bowel syndrome
Anyone can develop chronic pain, although some factors can make a person more at risk, including the following:
Treatment for Chronic Pain
The treatment of chronic pain aims chiefly to reduce pain enough to allow you to carry out your everyday activities once again.
CRPS has no known cure, and treatment plans must be adjusted according to each individual.
In some cases, over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can help reduce the symptoms of chronic pain. Some people find relief with opioid pain relievers, but the side effects can be harmful when abused.
There are also some general lifestyle changes and home remedies you can participate in to help ease the symptoms, such as engaging in physical therapy or yoga, seeing a therapist, or practicing meditation.
Ketamine for Chronic Pain Treatment
Ketamine was first approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic, but it has also found significant use as a pain reliever over the years, with many organizations now recommending it for the treatment of chronic pain conditions.
Research into ketamine infusions for treating pain is still ongoing, but it is generally believed that ketamine helps to foster connections between synapses and restore damaged nerve connections, essentially “rewiring” the brain. Ketamine infusions may be particularly effective at not only treating the pain symptoms of Chronic Pain Syndrome, but also the additional depression and anxiety symptoms.
The recent FDA approval of Spravato (a ketamine-based nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression), as well as the development of new psychedelics research centers by John Hopkins, may indicate a shift in the chronic pain treatment industry, providing innovative new options like ketamine infusion to those who experience persistent and treatment-resistant chronic pain.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder that typically affects one specific limb after an injury, believed to be caused by damage to the nervous system. The pain is usually out of proportion when compared to the initial injury. Often, the initial energy is a musculoskeletal or nerve injury.
CRPS is uncommon and still not completely understood by science, but treatment can be effective when started early on. As many as 200,000 individuals experience this condition in the United States every year.
Research has proven time and time again that although CRPS is a physical disorder, it has not been unheard of for medical professionals to suggest that patients with CRPS are exaggerating their pain for psychological reasons.
What are the symptoms of CRPS?
The most consistent symptom is constant, severe pain often described as a burning or “pins and needles” sensation throughout the affected limb. In some cases, the pain has been known to spread across the entire limb, even if the initial injury only affected a finger or a toe. The affected area may experience allodynia, which means that normal contact with the skin can be very painful.
Other symptoms may include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Swelling of the affected area
- Changes in skin temperature, color, or texture
- Joint swelling or stiffness
- Muscle spasms or tremors
Symptoms have been known to change over time and often vary from person to person. In rare cases, CRPS may even spread from the affected area to elsewhere in your body.
What are the causes of CRPS?
While the exact causes are still not entirely understood, in more than 90 percent of cases of CRPS the condition is triggered by a history of trauma or injury. These triggers include fractures, sprains, soft tissue injury, limb immobilization, surgery, or sometimes even a minor medical procedure such as a needle stick.