Chronic pain and PTSD can be two very debilitating conditions. They can often intersect, making life even more difficult for the person suffering from them.
This blog post will discuss what both chronic pain and PTSD are, as well as how they can become intertwined. We will also touch on how ketamine has become a great medicine for those suffering from one or both conditions.
The benefits of ketamine are becoming more well-known, and we hope that this information will help people find relief from their chronic pain or PTSD.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for extended periods, anywhere from one month to many years. The pain can vary in intensity but comes and goes throughout the days and weeks.
It’s estimated that more than 20% of the U.S. adult population suffers from chronic pain, with 8% of that saying they have high-impact chronic pain. This means that their chronic pain interferes with life activities such as work, school, or family responsibilities.
While many of us think of pain as a physical sensation, chronic pain can also be emotionally and mentally draining.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?
As mentioned above, chronic pain can have physical and mental symptoms that make life difficult.
The physical symptoms of chronic pain can include:
- Sharp or shooting pain
While many physical symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medication or physical therapy, the mental symptoms can be more difficult.
The mental symptoms of chronic pain can include:
These symptoms can make it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, and even socialize.
Many of the mental symptoms of chronic pain require professional help to treat.
What Is PTSD?
PTSD is a condition that is misunderstood to develop only after someone has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event, but PTSD can form after any type of trauma.
About 6% of the U.S. population will have PTSD at some point in their lives, and 12 million people suffer from it every year in the U.S. alone.
Only a small portion of people have developed PTSD after the trauma, but many more who experience it don’t develop PTSD to an extent where it will significantly affect their lives.
Many of these people include our veterans, first responders, and police officers. PTSD can also develop in children who have experienced abuse or neglect. There is no timetable for PTSD, and it can take weeks or even years to appear. This can make it difficult to link the event to the symptoms.
PTSD can also be difficult to escape from; trauma is often relived in dreams or flashbacks when sleeping or awake. This can make it hard to focus on anything else, and many people with PTSD avoid places or things that remind them of their trauma.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
The symptoms of PTSD can be broken down into four categories:
- Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks or nightmares.
- Avoiding people, places, things, or situations that are reminders of the trauma.
- Negative changes in mood and thinking, including feeling hopeless, having memory problems, trouble concentrating, and feeling detached from friends or family members.
- Changes in physical and emotional reactions, such as being easily startled, irritability, sleep problems, self-destructive behavior, and hypervigilance.
These symptoms can make simple tasks like going out to the store or visiting family or friends difficult. To deal with the symptoms, many of those suffering from PTSD turn to alcohol or drugs. Getting diagnosed with PTSD is the first step in getting treatment.
How Chronic Pain and PTSD Become Intertwined
While chronic pain and PTSD are two separate conditions, they often become interlinked.
A study done in 2020 found that almost 20% of those with chronic pain also struggled with PTSD. The study also found that those with chronic pain were more likely to have higher levels of anxiety and depression.
This is because the physical symptoms of chronic pain can make the mental symptoms of PTSD worse and vice versa, creating a difficult feedback loop to break out of without help.
It’s theorized that since PTSD and chronic pain carry many of the same symptoms, they may share some of the same causes. This could be due to how chronic pain and PTSD affect the brain.
How Ketamine Is Helping Those With Chronic Pain and PTSD
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to chronic pain or PTSD, ketamine has shown to be an effective treatment for both conditions.
Ketamine is a medication that has been used for decades as an anesthetic. In low doses, it can help with chronic pain and PTSD by:
- Reducing the intensity of pain signals
- Decreasing inflammation
- Regulating mood
- Improving sleep quality
Ketamine has also been an effective treatment for depression, which is often comorbid with chronic pain and PTSD.
Colorado Ketamine Provides a Path To Help and Support
Our incredible team at Colorado Ketamine is passionate about helping those suffering from chronic pain and PTSD. We work with you and your loved one to create a treatment plan that can help regain control of life.
Our treatment plans include psychotherapy and traditional medications, but ketamine infusion therapy is an innovative, promising treatment that has been life-changing for many of our patients.
We would love to help you or your loved one on the road to recovery. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Colorado Ketamine. Together, we can find a way that helps fight the symptoms of both PTSD and chronic pain.