Rheumatoid Arthritis

“The pain and inflammation from my rheumatoid arthritis is pretty much gone. For years and years, I always have this nauseous feeling especially when I wake up in the morning and I have a hard time eating. So when I do feel like eating I binge eat and so I gained a lot of weight doing that. That’s all gone, and the treatments have reduced my anxiety and my anger mood swings.” -Jason M

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joints. RA can also involve inflammation of tissues in other areas of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and eyes. Because it can affect multiple organs of the body, RA is referred to as a systemic illness. Although RA is a chronic illness, patients may experience long periods without symptoms.

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. Chronic inflammation, however, is a culprit in many auto immune diseases and worsens with stress and our American lifestyles.

How We Help

Our integrated approach to healing rheumatoid arthritis combines ketamine infusion therapy, medication management, and counseling. We treat many complex autoimmune disorders, and they all require individualized plans that address the emotional and physical facets of illness.

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).

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. Along with allodynia, these states are called central sensitization, where decreased pain threshold and increased stress responses cause the entire nervous system to react forcefully to events or stimuli.