Migraine headaches can be extremely challenging to treat which is why recent discoveries in the use of ketamine for chronic migraines is great news for migraine sufferers. A 2017 study of 61 migraine patients showed that 77% experienced an improvement in pain intensity immediately after a 3-to-7-day course of ketamine infusions, with 40% of patients reporting sustained results.
A migraine headache is a type of headache that is characterized by severe pain, usually on one side of the head. Migraines often occur with other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine headaches are thought to be caused by changes in the brainstem and trigeminal nerve, which leads to the release of chemicals that cause inflammation and pain. Migraines can be disabling and last for several days.
Migraines can progress through four stages but not everyone that experiences migraines will go through all stages.
This is the first stage. You may notice subtle changes that occur one or two days before a migraine with symptoms including:
The aura phase is the second stage of a migraine headache. It usually begins with visual changes, such as flashing lights or blind spots, and can also include other symptoms such as tingling in the hands or face, or a feeling of heaviness in the head. The aura typically lasts for 5-60 minutes before the actual headache pain begins, but can occur during the next phase, attack.
A migraine attack can last for hours or even days, and the symptoms can be extremely debilitating. The most common symptom of a migraine is a severe throbbing or pulsing headache that is usually on one side of the head. Other symptoms can include:
This phase can last for up to 24 hours after the pain of the migraine has subsided. During this time, people may feel drained and exhausted. Some people may also experience mood changes, such as feeling elated or depressed.
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According to webmd.com, experts estimate the average cost of preventative care for migraines is about $6,500 out-of-pocket.
There are so many different treatments for migraine headaches, including over the counter and prescription medications, home remedies, and lifestyle changes – with none of them standing out as a strong leader. If we went into detail about all of them, you’d probably be overwhelmed AND bored! So, let’s skip to the good part.
Migraines have been notoriously hard to treat, until ketamine. According to the British Journal of Pharmacology, “Current data on short term infusions indicate that ketamine produces potent analgesia during administration only, while three studies on the effect of prolonged infusion (4–14 days) show long-term analgesic effects up to 3 months following infusion.”
Another study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine of treatment resistant patients showed that “Subanesthetic ketamine infusions may be beneficial in individuals with chronic migraines or new daily persistent headache (NDPH) who have failed other aggressive treatments.”
About 40% of patients, under most conditions, continue to experience pain relief that lasts between thirty to one hundred days after their ketamine treatment. Nearly 95% of the patients who experienced these long-lasting positive results were chronic migraine sufferers.
It’s worth noting, the study we mentioned at the start of this article treated patients for whom nothing worked.
Ketamine is thought to act as a N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. The NMDA receptor is found in high concentrations in the brain and is involved in pain processing. By blocking the NMDA receptor, ketamine can help to reduce the pain and disability associated with migraines. Ketamine is also believed to influence other receptors and neurotransmitters that contribute to pain, including the opioid receptors.
It is important to develop a migraine treatment strategy that is both effective and gives you lasting results. At Daytryp Health, our goal is to get you back to your daily life with less pain and disability. Setting up a consultation to discuss your options on the use of ketamine as treatment for migraines is the first step on your journey to wellness. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how Daytryp can help.
Ketamine infusions for migraines work by inhibiting the NMDA receptor. This prevents the release of glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in pain signaling. By blocking the NMDA receptor, ketamine can help to reduce pain and other symptoms associated with migraines. Ketamine infusions are typically given over a period of several hours and stretched out over a period of several days. The effects are immediate and can last for several hours and up to several months.
This question is difficult to answer as there are many different triggers and causes for migraines. Ketamine has been proven to be effective at helping patients resolve mental health conditions such as ptsd, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. If the underlying cause or trigger for your migraines is emotional or stress related, it’s possible that ketamine could help prevent future migraines.
The FDA has not approved ketamine for the treatment of migraines specifically. However, the FDA has approved ketamine for the treatment of pain more generally. Therefore, some doctors may prescribe ketamine for the treatment of migraines even though it is not specifically approved for this purpose.