Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy an Effective Treatment for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy?

Written by Channel 12 Richmond on January 16, 2014. Posted in Benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for wounds, Radiation necrosis brain

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Hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy has been a well-established treatment with many benefits for decades. Hyperbaric medicine, commonly referred to as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, involves a patient being exposed to pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. The air pressure in hyperbaric treatment is raised up to three times higher than the normal air pressure levels you’re exposed to each day — this high-pressure environment allows the lungs to receive up to three times more oxygen than usual, and is effective in treating infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal due complications with diabetes or radiation injury.

The related effects of hyperbaric oxygen treatments involve an increased amount of oxygen transport capacity in the blood. The therapeutic benefits of a high-pressure environment derive from its direct compression effects, and from an increased availability of oxygen to the body. Fortunately for those suffering with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy are an effective treatment for RSD pain. RSD is a chronic pain disorder that is associated with sensitivity to light, touch, swelling, skin color and temperature changes, weakness, abnormal sweating, muscle atrophy, and subsequent depression.

Although there is no cure for RSD, treatment for RSD pain is typically prescribed by doctors through various medications. In some cases, pain relieving medication may ease pain and inflammation associated with RSD; however, if you’re worried about consuming multiple pills each day, hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment is a natural treatment that can provide substantial relief from the symptoms of RSD. In a recent study involving hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment for RSD pain, 71 patients diagnosed with RSD were used. Of the 71 RSD patients, 37 were exposed to high HBO air pressure, and 34 patients were allocated a control group and were exposed to normal air pressure. Both groups received 15 therapy sessions in a HBO chamber. After the 15 HBO therapy sessions, both groups were compared. The group exposed to high HBO air pressure reported a significant decrease in pain and inflammation, with an increase in range of motion in the joints. This study concluded that HBO therapy is an effective, and well-tolerated method for treating and decreasing many symptoms associated with RSD.

The traditional hyperbaric oxygen chambers are a hard shelled pressure vessel, with enough room for one patient to lay in and receive treatment. Many of these chambers can be purchased for home use, but because they can typically be very expensive, many patients choose to visit hyperbaric oxygen treatment centers for their therapy sessions. If you’re interested in receiving HBO therapy, speak to your doctor for options and a recommendation of a treatment center near you.

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