At Hyper Healing, we provide numerous services related to wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Hyperbaric medicine is commonly associated with wound care but can be used in many different areas of the body. In this blog, we are devoting some time to explain how hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can benefit brain injuries and other neurological conditions. It all starts with the hyperbaric chamber. While the air we breathe only contains 21% oxygen, hyperbaric oxygen therapy uses a chamber consisting of 100% pure oxygen to more efficiently oxygenate the body and treat various medical conditions, including traumatic brain injuries. While initial studies of the effects of HBOT on brain injuries were met with some criticism, we’re here to set the record straight and delve into how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can benefit brain injuries.
A Brief History of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy dates back to the 1930s, when it was first used to treat decompression sickness in divers. Since then, there are an additional 13 FDA-approved uses for HBOT, including osteomyelitis, radiation necrosis, and diabetic ulcers. Studies on the effects of HBOT in patients with traumatic brain injuries began in the 1960s. While studies have shown that neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injuries, have responded well to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the inability to have double-blind placebo-controlled trials has left some scientists skeptical.
How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Benefit Brain Injures
Hyperbaric oxygen treatments take place in a pressurized environment to fill the lungs with pure oxygen levels more efficiently. This combination of high oxygen content with a pressurized surrounding area sends more oxygen to the bloodstream to use throughout the body. Research has shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can benefit brain injuries where the injury is classified as an acute, severe traumatic brain injury because of its ability to increase blood flow to the areas of the brain that have been affected. It’s important to note that the benefits of HBOT extend far beyond tissue oxygenation. According to various studies, HBOT has also been shown to suppress inflammation, reduce increased intracranial pressure, decrease apoptosis in the brain tissue, and promote regeneration and regrowth of certain parts of the brain.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has also been shown to be effective for other neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis. While HBOT is not considered a cure, there is evidence to suggest that a regular schedule of hyperbaric sessions can slow the progression of chronic conditions like MS.
There is still a lot to be discovered when it comes to the healing ability of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Unfortunately, there is a commonly maintained belief that any post-concussion symptoms persisting more than six months following a head injury are permanent and irreparable brain damage. This, combined with some skepticism regarding a lack of placebo controls in trials, has stunted widespread treatment access for many patients who could benefit from HBOT. The bottom line is that improvement for both neurological conditions and brain injuries is possible and scientifically supported.
Contact Hyper Healing
At Hyper Healing, our wound care and hyperbaric medicine clinics offer new advanced therapies and progressive procedures to work in conjunction with the care from our referring providers to heal patients faster and more completely. We believe that healing chronic wounds requires a multi-dimensional approach. If you have any additional questions about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can benefit brain injuries, schedule an appointment by contacting us or by calling us at 813-591-4570.