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How Does Ketamine Treat Pain?

Are you one of the over 50 million Americans living with chronic pain? Pain can be one of the most debilitating conditions, affecting your life daily and making it difficult to perform common tasks.

If you’re seeking relief from acute pain, you may want to consider ketamine as an option. Even though it has been primarily used as an anesthetic for surgeries, over the last few years, its use in treating chronic pain has grown significantly due to its proven effectiveness when administered by medical professionals.

How does ketamine treat pain, though, and what can you expect from ketamine pain treatment? Read along as we discuss how ketamine works, what types of pain it relieves most, and how long its effects typically last.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic drug that has recently become a popular choice for medical treatment in many scenarios. It has a slightly sedative and pain-relieving effect, with the ability to cause a trance-like state by blocking off certain receptors in the brain.

The chemical formula for Ketamine, written on paper.

A qualified doctor can administer ketamine either orally or intravenously depending on its specific use, and it’s commonly used during minor surgeries like biopsies or even on children. Furthermore, it’s been known to reduce postoperative nausea and pain significantly more than other traditional anesthetics, which is why ketamine has become so popular in recent years.

Uses of Ketamine

As mentioned at the start of this mini guide, ketamine has gained popularity for its ability to treat acute pain. However, this medication also has several other benefits and uses as well. Let’s quickly explore some of the most common uses of ketamine.


Ketamine is an excellent option for anesthesia. Its ability to produce a short period of amnesia makes it so great. This allows a reduced recovery time and improved patient outcomes. Overall, several studies have confirmed ketamine’s efficacy as an anesthetic. This is why it’s FDA-approved for use in anesthesia.

A picture with the text Mental Health under the surface.


Do you suffer from migraines? Ketamine might be the solution. It can help due to its ability to regulate pain signals within the brain. Research indicates that a low dose of the drug can reduce migraine symptoms by almost 50%, with some studies showing even higher levels of relief. While more research needs to be done on ketamine as a migraine treatment, it could be one way to find relief.

Mental Health

Ketamine therapy has significantly affected some of depression’s most debilitating symptoms. This includes deep sadness and suicidal thoughts.

Studies show that depression can cause changes in how brain circuits respond. By administering ketamine, these circuits can be reset more quickly than before. This leads to faster relief for depression sufferers.

Even though more research is required for conclusive findings, many mental health professionals are already utilizing ketamine as a treatment option for patients with severe depression. It could also help with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chronic Pain

Finally, ketamine has proven great for treating pain. It helps reduce chronic pain by influencing the body’s ion channels and neuronal pathways. Basically, it blocks receptors in the brain that are responsible for sensing pain. Numbing those receptors can offer long-term relief from chronic pain for some people.

Plus, it’s known for its immediate effect; many patients report pain relief within hours of a single dose.

How Does Ketamine Treat Pain?

We explained it a little above. But how does ketamine treat pain in the body? What’s going on when we provide our patients with keratine therapy?

It interacts with a chemical receptor in the nervous system known as NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate). By blocking this particular receptor, ketamine helps block the transmission of pain signals from reaching the brain. Over time, this “reboots” the receptor, and it no longer interprets peripheral stimulation as pain.

What Kind of Pain Can Ketamine Treat?

It can treat most types of acute pain. Many people who suffer from pain related to cancer, fibromyalgia, or arthritis have reported great relief from ketamine treatment. By blocking pain pathways in the brain, pain associated with these illnesses can often be greatly reduced.

A person dealing with arthritis, knee pain.

Additionally, ketamine’s antidepressant properties can comfort those struggling with pain-related depression and anxiety. If you have arthritis, for example, and it’s hard to find the motivation to walk or get out of bed, ketamine might be able to help.

Ketamine Pain Treatment

Does ketamine pain treatment sound right for you? Great! The next question we get from most patients is what to expect during the treatment. Aside from expecting some pain relief, how long does the treatment take, and how do we administer the ketamine?

Ketamine infusion therapy is an intravenous infusion that can take one to two hours, though most of our patients start to feel relief in as little as five minutes. What’s most important to know is that we customize each ketamine infusion to meet our patients’ needs. We’ll ensure we dose it correctly to provide you with the pain relief you need in the safest manner possible.

To make the most of the ketamine treatment, we recommend you bring something that will help you relax and self-reflect. This could be headphones and some music or meditation tracks on Spotify.

Where to Get Ketamine Pain Treatment

At Lone Star Spine and Pain Institute, our goal is to provide personalized services to every one of our patients. No two people are the same, so we strive to create an individualized treatment plan for our patients’ acute pain issues. We have offices in San Marcos, TX, and New Braunfels, TX.

Click here to view directions to each treatment center or schedule an appointment.

Schedule a Consultation

Whether you need more traditional treatments like medication or something more progressive like ketamine pain treatment, we will work with you to create a plan that best suits your needs. Don’t let chronic pain keep you from living the life you deserve. Contact us today for a consultation to learn how we can help reduce your acute pain in San Marcos or New Braunfels, TX.

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If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic pain, call us today and let us help you get your life back.