Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine Treatment for Fibromyalgia in Southern California

Pain caused by fibromyalgia can feel unbearable. Intravenous (IV) ketamine treatment is proven to relieve symptoms of many chronic pain disorders, including fibromyalgia. As a leading IV ketamine provider, Neuro Wellness Spa has helped many patients struggling with chronic pain.

IV ketamine therapy is coordinated by Dr. Martha Koo, Neuro Wellness Spa’s Medical Director. She is an active member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians. A leading authority on psychiatric disorders for over 20 years, Dr. Koo is passionate about using IV ketamine to help her patients find relief from treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders and chronic pain conditions.

What is Ketamine IV Therapy?

Fibromyalgia is a leading cause of chronic pain affecting millions of Americans every day. There are many factors that influence the development of fibromyalgia, including central sensitization, genetics, immunological, psychological, and hormones. Central sensitization refers to a process in which the central nervous system gets regulated into a persistent state of high reactivity.  This persistent or wound up state of reactivity lowers the threshold for what causes pain and can create extreme pain even with minimal stimulus.  This phenomena is believed to be related to neuroplasticity which is mediated by N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors.

Ketamine is an NMDA antagonist, it blocks NMDA receptors and reduces inflammation. One of the ways ketamine is able to reset these altered pain receptors is by blocking the activity of the NMDA receptor.  It is likely that there are many more ways that ketamine is able to help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For instance, ketamine increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which plays a key role in neuroplasticity. Higher levels of BDNF are associated with enhanced memory and may also reduce the effects of chronic stress, fibromyalgia, and cognitive decline.

A double blind and placebo controlled trial took 31 patients with fibromyalgia and gave a 9 morphine, 11 lidocaine, and 11 patients ketamine. Researchers measured each patient’s pain tolerance at tender points as well as pain intensity, pressure pain threshold, muscle strength, and static muscle endurance. The study found that morphine did not result in significant change, and lidocaine showed decreased pain during and after the infusion. Ketamine not only showed a significant pain reduction during the infusion but also significantly reduced pain after the infusion was over, which supports the hypothesis that NMDA receptors are very much part of the pain mechanisms in fibromyalgia.

How Is Fibromyalgia Treated with Ketamine IV Therapy?

Fibromyalgia, though still widely misunderstood, is now considered to be a lifelong central nervous system disorder which causes shooting pain. Fibromyalgia pain can be treated with IV ketamine treatment due to ketamine’s NMDA receptor inhibition mechanism.

NMDA is a type of receptor that helps bind together glutamate in order to manage the brain’s most important pain center, the thalamus. When the NMDA receptor is blocked, ketamine brings acute and chronic pain relief. Some researchers indicate that ketamine does this by resetting the hyper-sensitized pain receptors in the nervous system.

Ketamine was originally approved by the FDA as an anesthetic. Today, it can be used to treat a range of physical and psychiatric disorders. Not only has IV ketamine therapy been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for physical pain, but it has also been widely applied to treat medication-resistant psychiatric disorders that often concurrently affect those with fibromyalgia.

Traditionally, fibromyalgia may be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, stress reduction and/or pharmacological treatments including:

  • Gabapentinoids
  • Tricyclics
  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors

If medications and nonpharmacological interventions don’t work, IV ketamine therapy may be a treatment option for fibromyalgia. IV ketamine is known for its ability to help relieve therapy-resistant chronic pain syndromes, especially those syndromes that have a neuropathic component.

So How Does Ketamine Treatment for Fibromyalgia Work?

When used to treat fibromyalgia, ketamine is administered through an IV at a much lower dose than is necessary for anesthesia. The dose of ketamine used in your treatment depends on your body weight: 0.5mg ketamine/kg body weight.

Each ketamine infusion lasts about 40 minutes, after which patients should have someone available to accompany them home safely. During the infusion, patients recline in a treatment chair surrounded by a calm, quiet and experientially safe environment. Ketamine is delivered at a slow and controlled dose and a registered nurse accompanies each patient for the duration of the infusion to monitor blood pressure, pulse and oxygen saturation. Patients do not experience any respiratory effects during or after the treatment.

IV Ketamine Therapy is well-tolerated. During a ketamine infusion, patients remain aware of their surroundings and experience a deep relaxation. Your clinician may lower the lights, offer an eye mask or aromatherapy, or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable. Some patients may experience dissociation, perceptual disturbances or nausea. Generally, any changes in perception or dissociation dissipate very quickly after the infusion.

Typically, patients receive 8-12 ketamine infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks. The combination, frequency, and order of each of your treatment sessions will be discussed with you and will be recommended based on your unique circumstances. Most patients experience positive results from ketamine after their first infusion. Subsequent infusions help prolong the positive effects.

Recent studies on Ketamine therapy for fibromyalgia have shown great results. Researchers concluded that ketamine can provide long-term remission of pain or long-term sustained relief, even for those with treatment-resistant forms of the disorder.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain throughout the body, fatigue and often comorbid emotional and mental distress. Nearly 2% of adults in the United States has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A fibromyalgia diagnosis may occur when a patient expresses generalized pain throughout the body, although the exact causes of fibromyalgia are unknown.

Those with fibromyalgia may experience pain symptoms throughout the body, especially at the meeting points of muscles and tendons, fatigue and cognitive difficulties. Other coexisting conditions or symptoms may include:

  • headaches
  • depression
  • stiffness
  • IBS

Fibromyalgia is common and it currently affects an estimated 12 million Americans. Women between the ages of 20 to 50 have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Although the exact causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown, known risk factors include:

  • Genetics – This disease tends to run in families. Parents pass down genes to their children, including ones that determine pain sensitivity and the likelihood of feeling depressed or anxious. If a person’s parents had fibromyalgia, then they may be more likely to get it as well.
  • Other disorders – The risk of developing fibromyalgia is increased in those with a history of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Childhood Abuse – Those who have faced physical or emotional abuse as a child have an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia.
  • Mental Health – Those with mental health disorders including PTSD, anxiety, or depression may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
  • Gender – Fibromyalgia is more common in women than in men.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – Lack of physical activity may increase the risk of fibromyalgia, and/or worsen the condition.

Fibromyalgia Statistics

  • Fibromyalgia is more likely to be found in women
  • It takes on average 2 years for someone with Fibromyalgia to receive a correct diagnosis
  • Over 70 percent of people who meet the criteria for a fibromyalgia diagnosis remain undiagnosed
  • Complications of the disorder may include:
    • hospitalizations
    • lower quality of life
    • depression
    • risk of suicide
    • higher rates of other rheumatic conditions including arthritis

The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be difficult to manage. At Neuro Wellness Spa, we offer a range of treatment options including ketamine therapy to help clients find relief. Learn more by getting in touch today.

Contact Neuro Wellness Spa

Do you need a new treatment option for your fibromyalgia pain or are interested in learning more about our ketamine therapy?

Contact us through our website, or visit us at one of our locations in Southern California. We’ll be happy to meet with you and discuss your treatment options including whether IV ketamine may be an effective approach for you.

For more information about the services we offer or whether Ketamine For Fibromyalgia is covered by your insurance provider, contact us today.

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    My life has completely changed with ketamine therapy. My therapist even said she had never seen such incredible progress in such a short amount of time.

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    Spent decades on meds that weren’t right for me. Took the genetic test, learned about what would work for me and got the RIGHT meds. Has made such a difference for me.

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    I was so low on energy and TMS changed everything. Now, I look forward to starting my days. My focus has improved. I appreciate things I couldn’t even notice before.

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    It was interesting to see that according to the genetic test, I’m a fast metabolizer of that particular pain medication. It gave me a bigger picture of how my genes work.

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