If You're Living With Fibromyalgia Pain, Ketamine Can Help

Exploring the Potential of Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

If you’re struggling with fibromyalgia, you’re no stranger to pain, which can hijack your life in countless ways. And finding relief for this musculoskeletal pain is frustrating since the origin of the pain appears to stem from a problem in the way the neurotransmitters in your brain function. 

To tackle the pain where it starts — your brain — many pain management specialists are turning to ketamine infusion therapy, including our team here at Pain Medicine Consultants, and we’ve seen some great results.

If you’re living with fibromyalgia, here’s a look at how ketamine can help.

Understanding fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia, or fibro, is an extremely tricky disorder to pin down and diagnose since so little is known about how the condition takes hold in your nervous and musculoskeletal systems. What we do know is that this complex chronic pain disorder can amplify the pain messaging in your brain, leaving you with unexplained and system-wide pain, as well as chronic fatigue, mood problems, and cognitive issues (fibro fog).

Fibromyalgia affects women far more than men, and it can develop on the heels of physical or emotional trauma. That said, anyone can develop fibromyalgia, even without a precipitating incident.

What all of this leads to is the fact that there’s no cure for fibromyalgia since the exact cause of the condition hasn’t been identified. This, in turn, leaves the medical world to treat the disorder symptomatically, with very mixed results.

Thankfully, ketamine infusion therapy is giving fibromyalgia sufferers new hope by finally allowing them to gain the upper hand on their pain and discomfort.

How ketamine works

Ketamine was first introduced in the 1950s as an anesthetic that was highly effective for several reasons. 

First, the drug attaches itself to receptors in your brain and disrupts pain signaling. Second, ketamine is a dissociative medication that not only stops the pain, but creates a euphoric effect. Lastly, ketamine doesn’t suppress your cardiovascular or respiratory functions as many painkillers do, which means it’s safer to use in a wider variety of patients.

Ketamine has been in use for decades in both humans and animals as an effective anesthetic, but the medical world began to see other benefits from the use of ketamine, such as a reduction in depression and anxiety. Researchers believe that ketamine achieves this by rewiring your brain, forming healthier neural pathways.

When it comes to fibromyalgia, which is a disease of the brain and body, ketamine delivers a powerful neurological punch in that it not only tackles the pain, but also some of the mood instability that’s often associated with the condition.

The road to relief with ketamine

If we find that you are a good candidate for ketamine, we may recommend a series of infusions in which we deliver a controlled dose of ketamine intravenously. We administer the ketamine infusions in our offices, and they typically take about an hour, after which time you’re free to go (though you need to have someone drive you).

The number of treatments you need depends upon your unique situation, but you should count on several to start. As you progress, we gauge how you respond and make any necessary adjustments along the way, with the ultimate goal of restoring your quality of life again.

If you’d like to explore whether you’re a candidate for this life-changing fibromyalgia treatment, please contact one of our four offices.

Further Reading:


Fibromyalgia — what is it?

Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition marked by widespread musculoskeletal pain, embodies a complex disorder that deeply impacts those living with it.

Characterized by pain that permeates throughout the body, fibromyalgia also brings with it fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive difficulties, often referred to as "fibro fog."

This chronic pain syndrome is notably distinguished by its tender points, areas on the body that are extraordinarily sensitive to pressure.

Fibromyalgia patients frequently contend with more than just physical pain; the condition is commonly associated with other chronic issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, and chronic fatigue syndrome, further complicating pain management strategies.

The path to diagnosing fibromyalgia involves a systematic review of symptoms, as the condition doesn't have a specific test for identification. Instead, it's diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation of pain duration and its distribution across the body.

The cause of fibromyalgia remains under investigation, but it's believed to involve a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental triggers that lead to abnormal pain processing pathways in the central nervous system.

In the realm of pain relief, emerging treatments like Ketamine infusion therapy offer a beacon of hope. Intravenous Ketamine, a treatment once confined to anesthesia, has shown promising results in various case reports and clinical trials for treating neuropathic pain conditions, including fibromyalgia.

The use of Ketamine in patients with fibromyalgia has garnered attention due to its potential to modulate pain pathways and provide relief where traditional pain medications have fallen short.

Ketamine therapy for fibromyalgia patients is often considered when conventional treatments fail to provide adequate pain control.

The administration of low-dose Ketamine through infusion can help alleviate the pervasive pain associated with fibromyalgia, offering a new treatment option for those suffering from this debilitating condition.

The exact mechanism by which Ketamine works to relieve fibromyalgia pain is still being studied, but it's believed to involve its effects on NMDA receptors in the brain, which play a key role in pain regulation.

While Ketamine infusion therapy presents a promising avenue for pain relief in fibromyalgia treatment, it's crucial for patients to consult with specialized healthcare providers to determine if they are a suitable candidate for Ketamine.

Factors such as the patient's overall health, pain severity, and treatment history are considered to ensure the potential benefits of Ketamine outweigh any risks.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that manifests in a spectrum of symptoms beyond the widespread musculoskeletal pain, which is its hallmark.

For those living with fibromyalgia, the pain is often described as a persistent dull ache that affects various parts of the body. However, the complexity of fibromyalgia extends into numerous other symptoms that can challenge daily life and overall well-being.

Widespread Pain

The central symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread pain, characterized by a continuous, dull ache that persists for three months or more. This pain is often referred to as "referred pain" due to its diffuse nature, making it challenging to pinpoint its exact origin.


Individuals with fibromyalgia frequently experience profound fatigue that isn't relieved by rest or sleep. This fatigue can severely impact their energy levels, making even routine tasks feel insurmountable.

Fibro Fog

Cognitive impairments, commonly known as "fibro fog," affect many living with fibromyalgia. This can include issues with focus, attention, and the ability to concentrate, further complicating the management of everyday activities.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep problems are prevalent among fibromyalgia patients, with many finding it difficult to achieve restorative sleep. This lack of restful sleep can exacerbate the symptoms of fatigue and fibro fog.


Many individuals with fibromyalgia report heightened sensitivities to various stimuli, including light, sound, temperature changes, and even tactile sensations. These sensitivities can add an additional layer of discomfort to their daily experiences.

Coexisting Conditions

Fibromyalgia often coexists with other chronic conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ), and chronic fatigue syndrome, creating a complex web of symptoms that require comprehensive management strategies.

The Potential of Ketamine Infusion Therapy

In the search for effective pain management solutions, ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a potential option for those suffering from fibromyalgia.

Intravenous ketamine, administered in a controlled clinical setting, has been used in various case reports and studies to explore its efficacy in treating chronic pain states, including fibromyalgia.

Ketamine's ability to modulate pain at the spinal level and its impact on central sensitization and disordered pain regulation have made it an area of interest for pain medicine specialists.

While ketamine may offer relief for some fibromyalgia patients, particularly those who have not responded to conventional treatments, it's essential to approach this therapy with careful consideration.

A comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare provider experienced in pain management and ketamine therapy is crucial to determine if a patient with fibromyalgia is a candidate for ketamine treatment.

The goal is to ensure the potential benefits of ketamine infusion therapy outweigh any risks, offering a viable treatment option for those grappling with the complex symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain

Fibromyalgia stands as a prominent figure in the realm of chronic pain disorders, distinguished not only by its widespread musculoskeletal pain but also by the depth and complexity of its impact on those it afflicts.

This condition exemplifies chronic pain, both in its persistence and in the multifaceted challenges it presents to pain management and patient well-being.

The Nature of Fibromyalgia Pain

The pain associated with fibromyalgia is chronic, meaning it is long-lasting, often extending beyond three months.

Unlike acute pain that arises suddenly from injury or illness and is typically temporary, fibromyalgia pain is persistent and pervasive, affecting various body parts without a clear, identifiable origin.

This pain is often described as a deep, throbbing, shooting, or burning sensation, accompanied by a constant dull ache that is widespread across the body.

Central Sensitization in Fibromyalgia

A key aspect of fibromyalgia's chronic pain is its association with central sensitization—a condition where the central nervous system goes into a persistent state of high reactivity, amplifying pain signals.

This heightened sensitivity means that fibromyalgia patients may experience pain from stimuli that are not typically painful and that minor injuries can result in disproportionate pain.

This disordered pain regulation at the spinal and brain levels contributes to the intensity and persistence of fibromyalgia pain.

Fibromyalgia's Impact on Quality of Life

The chronic pain of fibromyalgia is just one piece of a larger puzzle. The condition often brings a cascade of other debilitating symptoms, including severe fatigue, sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties known as "fibro fog," and various other physical and emotional challenges.

These symptoms interplay with the pain, creating a cycle that can significantly impair a person's quality of life, affecting their ability to perform daily activities, maintain employment, and engage in social and family life.

Managing Fibromyalgia Pain

Given the chronic nature of fibromyalgia pain and its resistance to traditional pain relief methods, management strategies often require a multi-faceted approach.

This can include medications such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants; lifestyle modifications such as stress reduction techniques, gentle exercise, and sleep hygiene; and various therapies including physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and complementary therapies like acupuncture.

The Role of Ketamine in Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Ketamine infusion therapy represents a promising avenue for treating fibromyalgia pain, particularly for patients who have found little relief from conventional treatments.

As an NMDA receptor antagonist, ketamine has the potential to reset pain pathways and reduce central sensitization. Studies and case reports have highlighted ketamine's efficacy in providing pain relief for fibromyalgia patients, offering a glimmer of hope for those struggling with this complex chronic pain disorder.

It's essential for individuals with fibromyalgia to work closely with healthcare providers experienced in pain management to develop a personalized treatment plan. For some, ketamine infusion therapy may be a component of this plan, offering an alternative approach to mitigating the relentless pain of fibromyalgia and improving overall quality of life

Ketamine for Fibromyalgia: How Do Ketamine Infusions Help Fibromyalgia?

Ketamine infusion therapy is emerging as a beacon of hope for individuals grappling with the relentless pain of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that traditional pain management strategies often inadequately address.

Intravenous ketamine, initially recognized for its anesthetic properties, has been repurposed in the realm of pain medicine, particularly for neuropathic pain and complex chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia.

Mechanisms of Ketamine in Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Ketamine's unique mechanism of action lies in its ability to block NMDA receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which are critical in the pain transmission pathway. This blockade can lead to a significant reduction in pain intensity, offering relief to patients with fibromyalgia. Moreover, ketamine is known to influence other neurotransmitter systems, contributing to its analgesic and antidepressant effects, which are particularly beneficial given the frequent comorbidity of depression and chronic pain.

The Impact of Ketamine Infusions

Patients undergoing ketamine infusions for fibromyalgia often report a decrease in pain levels and an improvement in overall well-being.

Case reports and studies have highlighted the potential of intravenous ketamine infusions to alleviate fibromyalgia symptoms, with some patients experiencing relief lasting beyond the infusion period.

This has led to an increased interest in ketamine as a treatment option for fibromyalgia, particularly for those who have found little respite from conventional therapies.

The Treatment Process

Ketamine infusions for fibromyalgia are administered in a controlled clinical setting, typically involving a series of sessions. Each session lasts about 30 minutes to an hour, during which a carefully calculated dose of ketamine is delivered intravenously.

The total dose of ketamine administered is tailored to the patient's specific needs, taking into account factors such as body weight and severity of symptoms.

Considerations and Research

While ketamine offers promising relief for fibromyalgia pain, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. The decision to use ketamine therapy should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider experienced in treating chronic pain conditions.

Ongoing research and systematic reviews continue to explore the efficacy of ketamine in treating fibromyalgia, aiming to optimize treatment protocols and better understand its long-term impact. 

How to Integrate Ketamine with Other Therapies and Treatments

Integrating ketamine infusion therapy into a comprehensive treatment plan for fibromyalgia offers a multidimensional approach to managing chronic pain and associated symptoms.

Combining ketamine with other therapies and treatments can enhance pain relief, improve quality of life, and address the complex nature of fibromyalgia. Here's how ketamine can be integrated with other modalities:

Combining Ketamine with Physical Therapies

Physical therapy is a cornerstone in managing fibromyalgia pain, focusing on improving mobility, strength, and flexibility. When combined with ketamine infusions, which help to alleviate pain by targeting the central nervous system, patients may find physical exercises more tolerable and beneficial.

This synergy allows for a more effective and comprehensive pain management strategy, emphasizing both pain relief with ketamine and functional improvement through physical therapy.

Ketamine and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is effective in managing the psychological aspects of chronic pain by altering pain perception and coping strategies.

Integrating ketamine therapy, known for its rapid antidepressant effects, with CBT can offer dual benefits. While ketamine provides immediate relief from the neuropathic pain and depressive symptoms common in fibromyalgia patients, CBT equips them with long-term tools to manage stress, anxiety, and pain, fostering a more resilient mindset.

Ketamine Infusions and Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga have been used to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Incorporating ketamine infusions can enhance the effectiveness of these therapies by reducing the overall pain burden, making patients more receptive to these treatments.

The combination of ketamine's pain-modulating effects with the relaxation and muscle relief provided by complementary therapies can create a holistic treatment approach that addresses both physical and emotional aspects of fibromyalgia.

Medication Management with Ketamine Therapy

For many fibromyalgia patients, a regimen of medications, including pain relievers, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants, is a key component of their treatment plan.

Adding ketamine infusions can help reduce the reliance on high doses of these medications by directly addressing pain and mood symptoms, potentially mitigating adverse effects associated with long-term medication use.

Careful coordination with healthcare providers is essential to ensure that ketamine therapy is seamlessly integrated into the existing medication regimen, optimizing treatment outcomes.

Regular Monitoring and Adjustments

The integration of ketamine into a fibromyalgia treatment plan requires careful monitoring by healthcare professionals experienced in pain management and ketamine therapy.

Regular assessments are necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the combined treatments, monitor for adverse effects, and make adjustments as needed.

This personalized approach ensures that each patient receives the most appropriate and effective combination of therapies tailored to their specific needs.

Research Supporting Treating Fibromyalgia Pain Using Ketamine

The exploration of ketamine infusion therapy as a treatment for fibromyalgia pain is backed by a growing body of research, indicating its potential efficacy in alleviating the widespread pain and associated symptoms of this chronic condition.

While ketamine is traditionally known for its anesthetic properties, its role in pain management, particularly for conditions characterized by neuropathic pain like fibromyalgia, has garnered significant scientific interest.

Key Studies and Findings

  1. Systematic Reviews: A systematic review of the use of intravenous ketamine infusions for chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, has shown promising results. These reviews often highlight ketamine's ability to provide significant pain relief for patients who have not responded well to conventional treatments (Schwartzman, R. J., et al. "The use of ketamine in complex regional pain syndrome: possible mechanisms." Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 2011).

  2. Clinical Trials: Clinical trials focusing on intravenous ketamine for fibromyalgia patients have reported improvements in pain scores and reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are commonly associated with fibromyalgia. For example, a study published in the Journal of Pain found that low-dose ketamine infusions could reduce pain intensity and enhance the quality of life in fibromyalgia patients (Noppers, I., et al. "Intravenous Ketamine for the Treatment of Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review." Journal of Pain, 2010).

  3. Case Reports: Individual case reports have documented the successful use of ketamine in treating fibromyalgia pain, providing anecdotal evidence of its potential benefits. These reports often describe significant improvements in pain management and daily functioning following ketamine therapy sessions (Graven-Nielsen, T., et al. "Ketamine reduces muscle pain, temporal summation, and referred pain in fibromyalgia patients." Pain, 2000).

  4. Pain Processing Research: Studies investigating the effect of ketamine on pain processing in fibromyalgia patients suggest that ketamine may help to "reset" disordered pain regulation mechanisms in the brain and spinal cord, offering relief from the heightened pain sensitivity that characterizes fibromyalgia (Sörensen, J., et al. "Hyperexcitability in fibromyalgia." Journal of Rheumatology, 1998).

  5. Long-term Effects: Research into the long-term effects of ketamine on fibromyalgia symptoms is ongoing, with some studies indicating sustained improvements in pain and quality of life with regular, monitored ketamine infusion sessions (Sigtermans, M., et al. "Ketamine produces effective and long-term pain relief in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1." Pain, 2009).

Considerations and Future Directions

While the existing research provides compelling evidence for the potential of ketamine infusion therapy in treating fibromyalgia pain, further large-scale, randomized controlled trials are needed to fully understand its efficacy, optimal dosing regimens, long-term benefits, and safety profile.

Additionally, the integration of ketamine therapy into comprehensive fibromyalgia treatment plans should be approached with caution, emphasizing personalized care and close monitoring by experienced healthcare professionals.

In summary, the research supporting ketamine as a treatment option for fibromyalgia pain is promising, offering hope to patients seeking relief from this debilitating condition.

As the scientific community continues to explore ketamine's mechanisms and benefits, it is poised to become an important tool in the arsenal against fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders.

Key Takeaways

As we explore the potential of ketamine infusion therapy for fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread chronic pain, fatigue, and other debilitating symptoms, several key points emerge:

  1. Innovative Treatment Option: Ketamine, traditionally known for its use in anesthesia, has emerged as a promising treatment for fibromyalgia patients, particularly those who have found limited relief from conventional therapies.

  2. Pain Relief and Beyond: Intravenous ketamine has been shown to provide significant pain relief for individuals suffering from fibromyalgia. Studies and case reports indicate that ketamine can help alleviate fibromyalgia pain, offering hope to those living with this chronic condition.

  3. Mechanism of Action: Ketamine works by targeting NMDA receptors in the brain, which play a crucial role in pain transmission. This action may help disrupt the cycle of chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, leading to relief from pain and associated symptoms.

  4. Comprehensive Care: While ketamine infusion therapy offers potential benefits, it's most effective when integrated into a holistic treatment plan. Combining ketamine therapy with physical therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other pain management strategies can provide a more rounded approach to treating fibromyalgia.

  5. Personalized Treatment: Ketamine treatment should be tailored to the individual needs of each fibromyalgia patient. Factors such as the severity of symptoms, response to previous treatments, and overall health should be considered to optimize the effectiveness of ketamine therapy.

  6. Safety and Supervision: Administering ketamine for fibromyalgia should be conducted under the supervision of healthcare professionals experienced in pain management and ketamine therapy. Proper monitoring during and after infusions is essential to ensure patient safety and treatment efficacy.

  7. Research and Evidence: The use of ketamine for treating fibromyalgia pain is supported by a growing body of research. Systematic reviews, case reports, and clinical studies highlight the efficacy of ketamine in providing relief from fibromyalgia pain and improving quality of life.

  8. Accessibility: As awareness of ketamine's potential benefits in fibromyalgia treatment grows, access to ketamine infusion therapy is becoming more widespread. Patients with fibromyalgia should consult with pain medicine specialists to explore ketamine as a treatment option.

In conclusion, ketamine infusion therapy represents a promising avenue for fibromyalgia pain relief, offering new hope to patients who have struggled to find effective treatments.

By integrating ketamine therapy into a comprehensive treatment plan and conducting it under medical supervision, individuals with fibromyalgia may experience significant improvements in pain management and overall quality of life.

Contact Pain Medicine Consutlants in Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton and Corte Madera, CA for a consultantion

Richard Coughlan Richard is an accomplished writer and expert in marketing and SEO, with over ten years of specialized experience in the healthcare sector. He collaborates with leading medical professionals, enhancing their communication with patients to ensure that essential health information is not only disseminated but also resonates meaningfully with the audience. Driven by a profound commitment to improving patient care, Richard prioritizes clear and effective communication. His objective is to arm patients with the most accurate, up-to-date healthcare knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions and to access the finest care available in their vicinity.

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