Neuropathic pain is often described as a shooting or burning pain. It can go away on its own but is often chronic. Sometimes it is unrelenting and severe, and sometimes it comes and goes. It often is the result of nerve damage or a malfunctioning nervous system. The impact of nerve damage is a change in nerve function both at the site of the injury and areas around it. Peripheral neuropathy is a type of neuropathic pain that usually starts in the fingers and toes, spreading upwards into the arms and legs. There is now a new kind of treatment that is to help with neuropathic and chronic pain and that is low-dose ketamine infusions.
The studies have shown that an infusion of ketamine resulted in meaningful pain relief in about 50% of patients with chronic neuropathic pain. Ketamine infusion therapy works by blocking the NMDA receptors. The NMDA receptor is overstimulated in neuropathic pain syndromes, and opioid medications have been shown to exaggerate this over-stimulation. Ketamine infusion therapy is thought to “reset” this nerve pathway back to normal causing significant pain reduction much faster than traditional treatment options.