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Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting longer than three months after the initial cause of the pain, or longer than it should take normal tissue to heal after an injury or disease.  It is believed that chronic pain results from dysfunctional nerve pathways that tell you you are having tissue damage at the site of pain when in reality, there is no damage.  Your brain is incorrectly firing pain signals.  People with chronic pain tend to have several factors in common and chronic pain appears to result from a complex combination of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Chronic pain syndromes are widespread pain conditions that do not appear to be related to an initial injury or disease in the tissues that are painful.  It is believed that these syndromes are due to a dysfunction of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) where nerve pathways signal pain when there is no damage.

Pain is the body's way of notifying us there is tissue damage or potential tissue damage so we can respond in a way to minimize the injury.  For instance, you touch a hot stove, you feel pain and jerk your hand away.  This prevents a more significant burn.  The same happens for bone, muscle, tendon, ligament, brain, and vessel injuries.  Normal pain subsides as the tissue damage heals.  

Most Common Types of Chronic Pain





Hip, Knee, Foot
Arm, Wrist, Hand

Cause of Chronic Pain

Why some people develop chronic pain

Everyone perceives pain differently and there are several factors that affect perception.  Chronic pain is still not well understood.  However, some conditions that appear to increase the risk of developing chronic pain include:

Inability to cope with trauma or life disruption
Poor perception of the events surrounding the injury or disease
Fear and low expectations about getting better
Existing depression or anxiety
Dysfunctional cultural and family dynamics
Poor physical health in general

Pain is not just a physical sensation, it also emotional.  Pain is accompanied by fear and anxiety, sometimes anger and despair, making it a complex phenomenon.  People with healthy, supportive social and cultural environments are less likely to develop chronic pain.  People who actively participate in their recovery and who have a positive outlook about their future are less likely to develop chronic pain. This is not always the case, but studies show a strong correlation between emotions, attitudes, support systems, and chronic pain.

Chronic Pain Syndromes

Chronic pain can develop in a specific area of the body (e.g. arm, leg, back) after an initial injury.  This is termed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  Other chronic pain syndromes can be a type of wide-spread body pain without a specific, identifiable, original cause.  Instead of pain in one location, like a leg or the back, people with chronic pain syndromes tend to have pain in multiple places.  It is believed that a dysfunctional central nervous system plays a role.  The pain patients feel is real but it does not appear to be caused by a specific injury or disease at the site of the pain.  This is why these conditions are also referred to as mind-body syndromes.


The most common type of chronic pain syndrome is fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Basics

The cause of fibromyalgia is not clearly understood.  The diagnosis is made after other possible causes of pain have been ruled out.  Imaging and lab tests are usually normal for patients with fibromyalgia.  Fibromyalgia is widespread musculoskeletal pain usually accompanied by fatigue, foggy thinking, depression, and multiple other complaints.  It is most common in women ages 22 to 55 years old. 

Fibromyalgia Treatment

The most important approach to treating fibromyalgia is patient education about the condition and identification of life issues that contribute to the symptoms.  The most important to address initially are:

Poor sleep habits
Lack of exercise
Life stress
Mental health dysfunction (depression, anxeity)

Patients who are willing to do the work to make life changes tend to improve significantly.  Although not easy, losing weight, regularly exercising, and undergoing therapy for coping with stress have shown to provide the best improvement in pain and other symptoms.  If fibromyalgia is accompanied by depression or anxiety, treatment of these mental health issues is also extremely important.

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Ketamine and Fibromyalgia

Why ketamine may help fibromyalgia

Ketamine dysrupts nerve pathways that are responsible for pain and emotion.  Because fibromyalgia is believed to be a form of nerve dysfunction and is usually accompanied by depression and anxiety, ketamine appears to provide a "reset" of these pathways.  This allows the patient to start rebuilding healthy nerve connections.

Getting Started with Ketamine for Fibromyalgia

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or a chronic pain syndrome and treatments are not helping, ketamine might assist in your recovery.  Contact us to see if you are a good candidate for ketamine.

Call or text today to get started


The information on this website is NOT comprehensive and should NOT be used as a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a health care provider.  This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient.  All patients must be examined and diagnosed individually to determine appropriate diagnosis and treatment for each individual patient.

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