man holding his shoulder in pain

How is Ketamine Used for Pain Management?

Although ketamine is traditionally used as anesthesia to put people to sleep before surgery, researchers are discovering new uses for this medication. Specifically, doctors are starting to prescribe ketamine to help those struggling with chronic pain because of ketamine’s analgesic and sedative properties.

This article aims to explore ketamine’s current uses in pain management.

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How is Ketamine Used for Pain Management?

Doctors prescribe ketamine differently depending on the type and severity of the condition.

Chronic Pain

Ketamine has always been a potent analgesic. However, researchers have only recently discovered how powerful it is, leading to prevalent use to treat chronic pain. Ketamine has been shown to reduce inflammation and provide residual pain-relieving effects for up to three months after the initial treatment.1

Acute Pain

In addition to chronic pain, low doses of ketamine are also effective when used to treat acute or short-term pain.2 Ketamine has a similar analgesic effect as morphine and essentially numbs the body of pain.

Neuropathic Pain

While ketamine helps treat several different types of pain, it’s especially beneficial in treating conditions involving neurological components. After it is administered, ketamine can block specific neuropathic receptors, preventing them from sending pain signals throughout the body.

woman having a headache and holding her head

Surgical Pain

While surgery is often necessary to repair various issues, recovery from surgical procedures can result in significant pain. Therefore, managing pain symptoms following surgery is a vital component of recovery. To that end, a recent study found that patients who are given ketamine following surgery may require fewer drugs for pain management and also experience less pain.3

Ketamine Side Effects

While ketamine has many potential benefits for managing pain, it is crucial to note that it also has potential side effects.

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Foggy memory

Who Should Receive Ketamine Treatment?

Adults struggling with chronic, acute, or any other type of pain can benefit from ketamine therapy. In addition to its pain-relieving effects, ketamine is also an antidepressant that helps those struggling with depression.

Children and teens with a developing adolescent brain, those who are pregnant, have symptoms of dementia, or are previous drug addicts should not receive ketamine treatment without medical supervision.

How is Ketamine Administered for Pain Management?

Depending on your preferences, there are several ways to receive ketamine therapy for pain management. Typically, treatments start with a low dose and proceed with amounts that gradually increase over time.

Intravenous infusion

One of the most efficient methods of receiving ketamine, IV treatments infuse ketamine into the body intravenously.

Intramuscular injection

With an intramuscular injection (IM), a doctor will give you a single shot, similar to a flu shot and other vaccines.

Girl Receiving On Demand IV Therapy in her Office

Lozenges and tablets

In general, ketamine lozenges are a good pain management option for taking ketamine orally.4 While effective, tablets aren’t as effective as IV therapy or injections.

Last Words

As you can see, ketamine is viable for long- and short-term pain management. Numerous studies have found that it effectively treats chronic, acute, and surgery-related pain, particularly pain with a neurological component. Ketamine is only available with a prescription by a medical professional, so speak to your doctor to determine if this type of treatment can help you manage pain.

Experience The Benefits Of Ketamine Therapy At Home With Concierge MD

Ketamine IV therapy can help provide relief from a wide range of conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and PTSD, by helping restore brain synapses and promoting repair.

One of our certified nurses comes to your location to administer treatment, saving you the time and hassle of visiting a clinic while providing safe, quality care. Our telemedicine portal provides fast, easy access to our team, making it simple to get the treatment you need to feel your best.

If you’re ready to book an appointment, give us a call or click the button below!


[1] Ketamine for chronic pain: risks and benefits. Niesters M.

[2] Ketamine for the treatment of acute pain. Silverstein WK.

[3] Perioperative intravenous ketamine for acute postoperative pain in adults. Brinck EC.

[4] Long-term safety and efficacy of sublingual ketamine troches/lozenges in chronic non-malignant pain management. Maudlin B.

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