Phantom Limb Pain

• • Ketamine Therapy • •

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.

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 This Therapy 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.

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 Therapy Treatments

One-on-One Consultation with an Expert Psychiatrist

A physician will begin by reviewing your medical records and consulting with you about your needs and preferences for treatment.

You will be asked some important questions.

Such as height, weight, age, and medical history as part of your treatment assessment. This information helps the physicians and medical staff prepare your treatment plan.


Ketamine infusions are administered on an outpatient basis.

Ketamine is administered through an IV, and the infusion lasts between 40-50 minutes.

Your treatment environment can have a large impact on your experience of the infusion.

Your clinician may lower the lights, offer an eye mask or aromatherapy, or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable. You might also choose some relaxing music to help you through the onset phase.

Ketamine is administered through an IV.

You will receive treatment in a private room, accompanied by a trained healthcare professional for the duration of the infusion. As the ketamine is delivered at a low and controlled dosage, your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen saturation will be monitored.

IV Ketamine therapy is fast-acting.

Although you remain aware of your surroundings, you will experience deep relaxation. It is important to enter each infusion with a positive mindset and a tranquil setting.

Some patients may experience dizziness, nausea, dissociation or fatigue.

A complete list of possible side effects will be discussed with you prior to treatment. After a treatment session, it is important to have someone available to accompany you home safely.

Your mindset and emotional state before treatment can impact your experience of the infusion.

Prior to every ketamine infusion, we help our patients prepare intentions for their therapy. The stronger and clearer the intention, the more profound it may help the therapy to be.

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.

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

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