Our immune system triggers inflammation to protect our bodies from harmful organisms, like bacteria and viruses. For the most part, inflammation is an uncomfortable but helpful process that disappears as soon as the injury is healed. You will experience painful inflammation and swelling if you twist an ankle or are fighting off an infection, but the pain is manageable through rest and medication.
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body triggers an inflammatory response for no reason, meaning that no dangerous organism in the body needs to be attacked. Rheumatoid arthritis is one such disease.
How We Help
Our integrated approach to healing rheumatoid arthritis combines ketamine infusion therapy, medication management, lifestyle coaching, and talk-therapy into one treatment plan to address your whole system.
Ketamine infusion therapy works in a variety of ways: it decreases inflammation, regulates glutamate (an important brain fuel source), increases synaptogenesis and neuroplasticity, and decreases central sensitization.
Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the body. High levels of inflammatory hormones lead to significant reductions in the size and function of neurons. This can result in nerve cell death. Repeated doses of ketamine protect, repair, and rebuild the damage caused by chronic stress (Ng, Huang, Chang, Chan, & Lai, 2018).
“Ketamine acts both centrally and peripherally. Its action is mediated by multiple receptor subtypes including opioid, NMDA, alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate, kainite, and gamma-amino butyric acid A receptors. In chronic pain, ketamine appears to interact with the NMDA receptor. When stimulated, primarily by the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, the NMDA receptor leads to central sensitization via an upregulating feedback mechanism, a potential pathway for chronic pain. Reversal of central sensitization by NMDA-receptor antagonists such as ketamine is believed to reduce pain and may reduce the amount of opioid analgesics patients need as well” (Patil & Antiescu, 2012).
Central sensitization is a state in which the nervous system is always in a state of high reactivity. This results in heightened feelings of pain to non-pain provoking stimuli. The nerves affected by central sensitization have a much lower activation threshold than ‘healthy’ nerves. Central sensitization is thought to occur as a result of decreased pain thresholds, previous injury, and the stress response. Chronic stress is a known causative factor in lowered pain thresholds which may lead to chronic pain conditions.3-4 Allodynia and hyperalgesia are the result of central sensitization.
Allodynia is a disorder in which pain is felt by things that are not painful. Example – if you have central sensitization in your leg, you may be extremely sensitive to bed sheets, light touch, or hot or cold temperatures. These normally non-painful stimuli can evoke massive amounts of pain.
Hyperalgesia is a heightened response to a mildly painful event resulting in an excessive and exaggerated response to pain. Example – bumping your leg on a table may be mildly painful, but with hyperalgesia may feel as though your leg is being amputated.
Frequently, people with chronic pain conditions experience depression and anxiety. It becomes a vicious self-perpetuating cycle. We address the body to help you overcome your pain and your mind and spirit to help you regain your sense of self and purpose. Our integrated approach to medicine addresses all these variables through a variety of therapeutic interventions such as medications, lifestyle coaching, and talk-therapy to help you stabilize and regain your health and inner peace.