A significant number of people suffer from the painful condition of migraine headaches. Research conducted by the Migraine Research Foundation concluded that roughly
25 percent of all American households contain at least one individual afflicted with this ailment. In more general terms, the organization maintains that as much as 12 percent of the United States population is affected by this condition.
Fortunately, a method that is proving to be effective in addressing refractory migraine pain is—intravenous ketamine infusion treatment. Our team at Austin Ketamine Specialists, a Central Texas-based clinic specializing in the treatment of certain chronic pain syndromes, treatment resistant depression, anxiety, and PTSD, invites those stricken with this condition to explore our ketamine treatment for refractory migraines headaches.
Migraines are severe headaches. Unlike many simple, uncomplicated incidents of head discomfort, however, migraine headaches impact the entire nervous system and often precipitate numerous symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, vision disturbances, light sensitivity, and vertigo. In certain subjects, pulsating pain and associated symptoms can be so severe, one is unable to perform routine tasks for several days.
Researchers cannot have been unable to identify One specific underlying cause for migraine headaches has not been identified. Medical professionals suspect that several issues may trigger a migraine’s onset, including alcohol consumption, temperature and atmospheric changes, stress, hormonal changes, brain chemistry alterations, and specific food additives.
The use of intravenous ketamine for migraines has gained recognition as an effective treatment option for refractory migraines. The medication has been traditionally used for anesthesia. Within the past decade, however, ketamine has been increasingly used to address other specific health conditions. It is proving to be extremely effective treating certain chronic pain syndromes and many treatment resistant mental health and eating disorders, including depression.
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that acts on glutamate binding sites in the brain at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor as well as at opioid, monoaminergic, cholinergic, nicotinic, and muscarinic receptors. While the exact mechanism of action of ketamine for the treatment of refractory migraine is not fully understood, the pervading theory is that subanesthetic doses of ketamine manifest functional and electrophysiological dissociation between the thalamo-neocortical and limbic systems: sensory inputs may reach cortical receiving areas, but fail to be observed in some of the association areas with the use of ketamine. Effectively, ketamine ‘blocks’ or ‘inhibits’ the neural excitation pathways likely responsible for the migraine headache pain. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Headache and Pain showed a significant short-term improvement in all of the study participants with refractory chronic migraine after a single subanesthetic dose of intravenous ketamine.
Even though preliminary studies have yielded positive results, research is still ongoing and ketamine treatments should not be administered indiscriminately. because of the potential risk for side effects. Individuals could experience temporary side effects, like drowsiness, speech problems, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and agitation. Ketamine can also cause increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and should only be administered under direct qualified medical supervision.
As with any medical treatment or procedure, patients considering ketamine treatment for refractory migraine headaches should consult with their healthcare provider benefits.