MSW Research Corner:
My Personal Journey Finding Pain Relief Through Ketamine Therapy
Adam Mitchell, Director of Clinical Research
Each of us, honored to work here at MY Self Wellness, Bonita Springs have had personal ways in which Ketamine Therapy has helped us each. In this edition of the MSW Research Corner, I’ll be discussing how my own chronic nerve pain was reduced in persisting ways through my experience with intramuscular ketamine, as we provide here at our clinic in Bonita Springs, Florida. Everyone has a different story, and each of us may learn from and guide ourselves from the stories of others. While my history of pain and relief found through Ketamine Therapy may not resemble yours- yet- I encourage everyone to evaluate how their lives may be improved, and how the valuable tool of Ketamine Therapy can open the doors to this future.
Always active, I had begun wrestling when I was eleven years old. More visceral and meaningful than the traditional martial arts I had engaged in earlier, these adolescent experiences grappling with larger and older high school athletes revealed back problems before I entered high school myself. Grunting through pain was instilled in me. Grin and bear it was my motif. Before high school graduation, I had earned my initial stripes of chronic pain. Oh, the joys of youth, not yet knowing the travails of age and experience!
As a cyclist, biking in excess of three dozen miles a day for my commute, I would stop at a pull-up bar each time I passed it and worked to do my age in reps each time I passed. A lightweight vegetarian at this point, this wasn’t as impressive as you may imagine. I would go to the gym around work too. Pain was managed well enough… until an accident, resulted in slipped disks and a pinched nerve. Full stop on gym, pull-ups and bicycling. This was severe pain. MRI’s revealed the damage. A doctor insisted I would “become a drug addict” without managing pain. Another helped this along, offering ‘standard’ pain management treatments consisting of muscle relaxers, anti-spasmodics, prescription anti-inflammatories and… opiates.
Opiate users build tolerance: pain pierces through, you get a stronger prescription for opiates. This cycle repeats. My pain wasn’t truly treated, but poorly ‘managed’ and masked with medications. Pain would win. I’d return to physical exercise, but flare-ups would take me out. Most nights, I would wake when the meds wore off. Some nights, I couldn’t sleep at all due to pain. Unhurried, ceaseless tears were of little comfort on nights like these. These nights continued for years.
When my prescribing doctor concluded my tolerance to opiates justified oxycodone, I had enough. I stopped taking all opiates and would alternate days taking mega-loads of ibuprofen versus muscle relaxers and antispasmodics. Life suffered in every way, my pain hovering between a 4-6 out of 10 on the good days, and spiking to 7 on bad days. This persisted for two more years of constant pain, dramatically diminishing my activity and wellbeing. Then, I benefited from intramuscular ketamine.
My first intramuscular ketamine treatment seemed to loosen shackles; the ‘angry dragon’ of knotted muscle around my pinched nerve relaxed, permitting therapeutic massage to get past my body’s well-intended defenses for the first time. Though this first experience with IM ketamine had an effect lowering my pain for some time, it was a learning experience of how mind and body were related, as I learned to ‘swim’ in the space ketamine induced. With the understanding and comfort I had now developed, I was more prepared for my second IM ketamine therapy experience. This second treatment liberated me of pain beyond my wildest anticipations.
I encourage our clients to make use of their integration time, after peak effects of the medicine begin to wear off. Biased by my own helpful experience reintegrating, negotiating my body’s relationship with pain. After the initial flood of medication subsides, it seems intentional will has the greatest capacity to steer the neural plasticity ketamine unlocks within the body. As I began to reorient to my body, I maintained focus on breath and body awareness. I felt my pain, but without creating extra tension around it. As I integrated into the world external, including my body, it was as though I listened to my pain more, and recruited less resources to address it. I felt I was rerouting my nerves away from the pinched nerve, to other areas of my body.
Immediately upon opening my eyes and arising, I noticed absence of my pain. First imagining this reduction was temporary, I was skeptical of how enduring this improvement would be. It has been five years since this IM ketamine infusion. Since, my pain has never ranged above a 1 or a 2. Tearful nights, waking with spikes of 7, furrowed brow intruding upon time with dinner guests, fearing pain from healthful exercise… these things became memories, more distant with each day. Now, I joyfully write, still aware of whispers that pinched nerve murmurs, but no longer shouts over my life of joy and activities unlimited by pain. Intramuscular Ketamine Therapy lowered my pain in substantial ways which has persisted for years.
As Director of Clinical Research here at MY Self Wellness, Bonita Springs I serve to inform people about the therapeutic potential of Ketamine Therapy. As someone with personal benefit from Ketamine Therapy, like so many of our clients at MY Self Wellness, I can’t help but to be an evangelist for the capacity of Ketamine Therapy to improve lives. It’s more than self-interest as a member of staff. Like each of those distinguished colleagues I work with at MY Self Wellness, we all know how our own lives have been improved by the medication we provide at our clinic. To talk more about how you wish for your life to change, and how Ketamine Therapy can open the doors to your improved life, call us at 239-908-9958 to talk, coordinate a tour of our facility, or schedule an evaluation for Ketamine Therapy.