What Are Ketamine Infusions?

Millions of Americans experience chronic pain, which is defined as pain that lasts for months or even years. Two of the most common sources of chronic pain are the back and neck — in fact, more than 26 million adults in the U.S. have frequent back pain.

Chronic pain takes a dramatic toll on your quality of life. Being in pain makes it more difficult for you to work, sleep, move comfortably, enjoy time with friends and family, and participate in hobbies and activities. About 28% of adults with low back pain say the pain limits their activity.

Our orthopedic specialists at Advanced Spine and Pain have a range of treatments that can help reduce pain. One of these treatment options is ketamine infusion, which gives new hope to people with chronic pain.

New use for an old drug

You may have heard of ketamine as the illegal street drug Special K. But surgeons have used it for decades as an anesthetic for people and animals.

Recently, researchers have discovered that ketamine has other important uses. For example, mental health care providers have found that it can successfully treat some types of treatment-resistant depression.

And pain researchers have learned that it delivers welcome relief for some types of chronic pain.

How ketamine reduces pain

Ketamine works by blocking certain pain receptors in the brain and resetting some nerve cells in your spine and brain.

Ketamine reduces some types of pain more effectively than others. Generally, we consider using ketamine infusion for the following types of pain:


Patients who have success with ketamine infusions like them because their pain relief can last much longer than with some other types of treatment. You may feel better for days, weeks, or even months, depending on what kind of pain you have.

Receiving ketamine infusions

Patients who have ketamine infusions come to our office, where our medical staff administers the ketamine through an intravenous (IV) line. Infusion typically takes from a half-hour to several hours, depending on what kind of pain you have.

The dosage of ketamine that you receive during your pain-relief infusions is much lower than the amount given for surgical anesthesia.

Sometimes we administer other types of medication along with ketamine infusions. These drugs can help improve your degree of pain relief and/or reduce potential side effects.

In addition to relieving pain, ketamine infusions can help reduce your reliance on opioid medications and other pain-relief drugs.

Some people can’t have ketamine infusions. For example, we may not recommend them if you have high blood pressure, a fast heart rate, or a history of seizures or certain types of head injuries.

Find out if ketamine infusions are right for you

If you have chronic pain related to back, neck, or spine conditions, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Our orthopedic specialists work with you to determine the best strategy for reducing your pain.

Advanced Spine and Pain is the leading provider of total spine care and pain management in Fairfax, Stafford, and Arlington counties in Virginia and greater Baltimore, Maryland. Call for an appointment today or book through this website.

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