Ketamine Treatment for Phantom Limb Pain in Southern California

With three locations in Southern California, Neuro Wellness Spa specializes in helping people who suffer from a variety of physical and psychological disorders. Our team creates personalized treatment plans tailored to each of our patients’ individual needs and preferences. 

While we offer a full spectrum of treatment options, one of the services we offer is intravenous (IV) ketamine therapy. Emerging evidence has shown that IV ketamine is a highly effective treatment for many disorders including depression, anxiety, PTSD and phantom limb pain (PLP).

Phantom limb pain is a neuropathic disorder that affects amputees, causing chronic pain in limbs that are no longer there. IV Ketamine has proven to be an effective treatment to help relieve PLP and other neuropathic conditions. 

What is Ketamine IV Therapy?

Millions of people suffer from chronic and debilitating physical and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many of these conditions may stop responding to medications, like anti-depressants, and other therapies. IV ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant:

 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Acute suicidality
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain

 

Physicians have used Ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic. However, new research indicates its effectiveness in other applications too.

Researchers at Mass General Hospital conducted the largest study of IV ketamine therapy. They found that over 70% of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression experienced symptom relief with IV ketamine therapy. This study, along with a growing number of others, is a major finding that demonstrates the effectiveness of IV ketamine for those who have tried standard treatments but haven’t responded adequately.

What is Ketamine IV Therapy?

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Millions of people suffer from chronic and debilitating physical and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many of these conditions may stop responding to medications, like anti-depressants, and other therapies. IV ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant:

 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Acute suicidality
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain

 

Physicians have used Ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic. However, new research indicates its effectiveness in other applications too.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Machine at the NeuroWellness Spa.

Researchers at Mass General Hospital conducted the largest study of IV ketamine therapy. They found that over 70% of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression experienced symptom relief with IV ketamine therapy. This study, along with a growing number of others, is a major finding that demonstrates the effectiveness of IV ketamine for those who have tried standard treatments but haven’t responded adequately.

How is Phantom Limb Pain Treated with IV Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been used safely and effectively since its approval by the FDA in 1970. Within the last twenty years, researchers have shown that ketamine has other potential treatment applications in addition to anesthesia. 

By stimulating neuronal growth, IV ketamine can improve mood and relieve chronic pain rapidly. Most patients who have had IV ketamine feel a significant improvement after the first treatment session. This improvement wanes over the subsequent 24-48 hours, but as the IV ketamine protocol continues, the symptom relief becomes increasingly sustained. 

Although there is still a lot unknown about phantom limb pain, it is clear that PLP involves both central and peripheral neural factors that activate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Ketamine is known to block these NMDA receptors. Because of this, IV ketamine is considered to be a potentially effective treatment for many neuropathic disorders, including PLP.

Phantom limb pain can sometimes be opioid-resistant. Ketamine offers opiate-sparing effects. It can either be used as a primary analgesic (pain reliever) or analgesic adjuvant (used after initial treatment).

If IV ketamine is indicated, the dosage is decided based on the patient’s body weight (0.5mg/kg). The drug is administered at a slow and controlled pace to the patient by a registered nurse. 

IV Ketamine can cause feelings of dissociation while the treatment is being administered. Many patients report that these feelings of dissociation can help them develop an objective perspective about past experiences.

So how does the ketamine for phantom pain work?

Phantom limb pain is a neuropathic condition that causes lasting painful sensations originating from the area of an amputated limb. Although the limb is gone, the pain caused by PLP is very real, caused by the brain sending mixed signals to the spinal cord.

PLP usually begins shortly after surgery. Sufferers say that it feels like twisting, burning, pressure, or itching, and it is commonly felt in fingers or toes. The duration and severity of the pain differs from person to person. Sometimes PLP can last only seconds, while for others, it may last several days.

Phantom limb pain flare-ups can be triggered by: 

  • Urination
  • Sex
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to cold temperatures

 

Phantom Limb Pain Statistics

  • 60-85% of amputee population experiences PLP.
  • In 2005, 1.6 million Americans (1 in 190) had PLP. This number is expected to reach 3.6 million by 2050.
  • Phantom limb pain is thought to affect 20% of children born without a limb and half of children who have a limb amputated before the age of 6 years old.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Phantom Limb Pain

 

  • May begin within the first week after an amputation or may be delayed for months or even longer.
  • Pain flares up and subsides recurrently
  • The symptoms affect the portion of the amputated limb farthest from the body. For example, the foot of an amputated leg.

 

  • Stabbing, shooting, cramping, burning, itching, or twisting pain in the missing limb.

How Does Ketamine Therapy for Phantom Limb Pain Feel?

At Neuro Wellness Spa, we administer low levels of ketamine in a controlled environment.

 

Ketamine can be used an anesthetic during surgery. However, the dosage we use during therapy is much lower. Patients do not lose consciousness or experience hallucinations during their sessions.

 

At such a low dosage, ketamine’s side effects will be very mild. When the drug is abused, individuals could experience a “trip” and hallucinate. However, at Neuro Wellness Spa we use FDA-approved doses and closely monitor our patients to make sure they are comfortable and relaxed.

What can I Expect During IV Ketamine Phantom Pain Treatment?

When you are first admitted into a ketamine treatment center,

A physician will begin by reviewing your medical records and consulting with you about your depression. There will also be a physical examination.

A person should be in good health to receive a Ketamine infusion.

However, there are almost no conditions which would prevent a person from being able to receive the treatments. If a patient has high blood pressure or a heart condition, this may need to be rectified before treatment can proceed.

Patients will be asked some important questions.

Such as height, weight, age, medical history and more as part of your treatment assessment. This information helps the physicians and medical staff to prepare your treatment plan. It is important to disclose all information that is requested to ensure a smooth treatment administration.

Ketamine infusions are typically administered on an outpatient basis.

The medication is administered through an IV, and the session lasts between 40-50 minutes.

The environment you encounter during your treatment can have a large impact on your experience of the infusion.

Although it does not affect the treatment outcome, some patients do struggle with anxiety or fright as the drug takes effect. Your physician may lower the lights or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable. You might also choose some relaxing music to help you through the onset phase.

The medication will then be administered through an IV.

Usually inserted into the arm, wrist, or hand. Little pain is involved because the needle is injected very near the surface of the skin. As the ketamine is delivered at the correct dosage, your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen saturation are all monitored.

You will feel the effects of the ketamine very quickly.

Although you remain aware of the immediate surroundings, you will be unable to do basic things like stand up or hold a normal conversation.

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During the first treatment and perhaps subsequent treatments, patients may experience dizziness, nausea, confusion, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, and even fatigue.

It can be difficult to stand or sit up during or after treatment. If you are receiving outpatient infusion therapy, it is important to have someone accompany you to transport you home after your treatment. A complete list of possible side effects will be provided to you prior to your treatment session. If you experience any side effects, let your doctor know right away.

You may also improve your infusion experience by cultivating the right mindset and emotional state before entering treatment.

Although the side effects are not severe, there is no harm in eliminating as many as you can. Learning how the treatment works can go a long way toward overcoming any anxieties you might have. Also, trust that you have chosen a physician with the training and experience to guide you safely through the process. On a final note, be aware that neither the sensation of treatment nor your mental state during the process meaningfully impacts the therapeutic outcome of the treatment. Research suggests that the depression and anxiety relief arise from long-term physical and chemical changes that take place in the brain in response to the ketamine—not the experience or sensation. This means you will still benefit even if you have some apprehension about the process.

Contact Neuro Wellness Spa

At Neuro Wellness Spa, we recognize that phantom limb pain can feel difficult to understand, but there are effective treatment options. We build relationships with all of our patients so they feel safe navigating their illness and understanding which options are best for them.

Have unanswered questions or wish to request a consultation?

Give us a call – Our phones are available 7 days a week!

 

1-877-847-3984