Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is now considered a disease itself it affects about 10% of the world’s population. Pain is the most common reason people seek healthcare and a leading cause of disability in the world. Chronic pain can disrupt all aspects of someone’s life.

According to the American Pain Foundation, about 32 million people in the United States report having pain lasting longer than a year.

Chronic pain may be made much worse by environmental factors including stress. Pain that persists over 12 weeks and is resistant to most medical treatments is considered chronic pain.

While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different, it can create severe long-term issues for patients.

Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself), psychogenic pain (unknown origin in many cases). Some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury.

Treating Chronic Pain

For chronic pain patients tend to need the support of their PCP, physiotherapists, psychologists and pharmacists. Depending on the condition, medication can be helpful but may only be part of the treatment – other elements that help include:


  • Exercise
  • Physical therapies (hot or cold packs, massage, hydrotherapy)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Psychological therapies (trauma therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation)
Photo of Dr. Michael Kullman in office

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Chronic Pain

Ketamine infusion therapy is not the first line of treatment. Patients who have failed other treatment modalities may be candidates for ketamine infusion therapy.

Ketamine infusion therapy is effective in most patients for pain that affects the central nervous system.

This includes:

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Chronic pain that has been unresponsive to all other treatments
  • Migraine Headaches

After half a century on the market, ketamine still occupies a unique position with the medical resources of anesthesiologists or clinicians treating pain. Over the last two decades, research has been conducted highlighting the drug’s mechanisms of action.

Nowadays, ketamine is used for pain control in emergency departments, with its anti-hyperalgesia and anti-inflammatory effects being revealed in acute and chronic pain management.

Studies have shown patients given ketamine pre-operatively or during surgery may require much less post-operative pain medications.

Recently, new insights have discovered ketamine’s potential anti-depressive and anti-suicidal effects as well.

Studies show that up to 80% of patients with chronic pain suffer from some mental health condition related to their pain and 45-50% suffer from depression, one of the most common mental health problems facing chronic pain patients.

Chronic pain persists. Pain signals may keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years. Some patients even suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage.