Hyperbaric chambers are used to treat mild brain injuries, such as post-concussion syndrome. The therapy helps reduce inflammation, control oxidative stress, and decrease mitochondrial dysfunction. As a result, brain functioning improves, and healing processes stimulate, which helps treat mild brain injuries.
This article will review the effectiveness of hyperbaric chambers in treating mild brain injuries.
What Is Hyperbaric Chamber?
The hyperbaric chamber allows the patient to inhale 100% oxygen at high pressure. When our body inhales oxygen at normal pressure, we breathe 21% oxygen from the air, and red blood cells carry it. However, in a hyperbaric chamber, our body inhales pure oxygen under pressure, which allows our bodily fluids to carry oxygen. Hence, even lipids, plasma, and cerebral spinal fluids carry oxygen and transport it to diseased sites.
It is known every function in our body requires oxygen to work properly. This is how our body needs a proper oxygen supply to heal and regenerate. Since hyperbaric chambers improve oxygen concentration in the body, they can promote healing.
Can HBOT Treat Mild Brain Injuries?
Considering the impact of hyperbaric therapy on our body, it is considered a full-time primary treatment for many diseases. The FDA has approved hyperbaric chambers for many of these diseases, such as chronic wound healing, decompression sickness, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
For example, HBOT helps improve healing in burn victims. The oxygen concentration in the body improves, and oxygen delivery to the diseased site increases. As a result of this, healing processes trigger, which leads to a reduction in inflammation as well.
Almost five years back, Paul Harch and Dr. Edward Fogarty from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine explained the impact of hyperbaric chambers on a toddler. A 23-month-old toddler experienced brain damage when she fell into a pool. She was then considered neurologically crippled, due to which she couldn’t walk, speak, or respond.
Her mom narrated the story to CNN that she was taking a shower when her daughter escaped the baby gate and fell into the pool. The toddler was lying face down inside the pool for an unknown time; probably 15 minutes.
The mother explained the paramedics had to offer CPR for around 90 minutes to make her heart beat again. However, the sad news was delivered later, and doctors informed that the child might never eat, walk, or talk without assistance.
After hearing the news, the toddler’s mom researched hyperbaric chambers and turned to this treatment option. In some time, the damage to the toddler’s brain completely reversed.
Harch has treated many patients with autism in the past. He explained that patients with this disease experience improvement with hyperbaric chamber therapy in time. This is why he says that HBOT is one of the best and most effective options for autistic children, given that their treatment plans are decided according to personal needs.
Who Should Try Hyperbaric Chamber Therapy?
In recent research, it was suggested that this therapy could reduce symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disorder.
Alternatively, hyperbaric chamber therapy is being tested for many ailments, such as infertility, chronic injuries, back pain, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, etc. Your insurance may even cover treatments that have been approved by the FDA. Here’s the list.
In another case, Amber Sims, a branding professional, hurt her arm, and the right rotator cuff. She didn’t visit the emergency room because she felt that doctors would suggest opioids and put a sling around her arm. In place of this, she went to the hyperbaric chamber clinic and took the first session. By the end of it, she was sure that this would make a difference. With just two sessions, she healed completely.
Many athletes also use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to heal quickly. Every athlete suffers injuries, and more than that, they experience fatigue after rigorous training, which leads to a resting period.
Some of these athletes use hyperbaric chambers to heal quickly even after rigorous workouts or training sessions. They can improve their efficiency.
Considering all the above cases, it is obvious that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is beneficial for people experiencing brain injuries. It helps oxygenate the body, which triggers healing processes, such as stem cell regeneration, reduced inflammation, decreased oxidative stress, etc.
Oxygen is important for our body to execute every function, literally. When we sleep, eat, generate energy, heal, etc., our body uses oxygen. Hence, when we experience a brain injury, we need oxygen to heal. But, due to inflammation and other dysfunction, oxygen supply hampers in the brain, which causes slow recovery. However, HBOT therapy can break this barrier and help us improve oxygen concentration in the brain, accelerating healing.
Hyperbaric chamber therapy is beneficial for mild brain injuries. As we observed in the case of a toddler, who lost major functioning in the brain due to an accident. But, with proper HBOT treatment, this child could walk, eat, and talk.
Similarly, HBOT can help reduce symptoms and issues experienced in many other minor brain injuries. Consult your doctor before taking this therapy, as it needs to be personalized according to your health condition and other variables.