Effects of hyperbaric oxygenation treatment on fibromyalgia

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment is used to treat decompression syndrome in divers. However, it has other applications. Most women with fibromyalgia who underwent this therapy experienced relief from pain and other symptoms, according to a small study.

The patient’s’ brain images showed that two months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy could also have repaired abnormal brain activity in areas of the brain related to pain, the researchers said. “At the end of the treatment, 70 percent of the participants could no longer be categorized as fibromyalgia patients”, said study author Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Tel Aviv, Israel.

“The good match between physiological improvements and changes in brain functionality makes the results particularly convincing”, Efrati added.

Fibromyalgia is a disease that affects nine times more women than men. Symptoms include chronic widespread pain, severe pain in response to pressure in certain parts of the body, fatigue and poor sleep, according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

 

The condition is not well understood, because no particular cause has been detected. Physical or emotional factors can cause the symptoms, according to the ACR. Fibromyalgia is usually treated with a combination of therapies, including drugs, lifestyle changes, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

The study included 48 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at least two years before. Half of them underwent 40 sessions with hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a period of two months. The treatments were administered five times a week. Each session lasted 90 minutes. During the treatment, patients breathed 100 percent oxygen pressurized to twice the normal air pressure.

After a lapse of two months, the other 24 women in the study were then exposed to the same hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment as the first group, after which they experienced relief of symptoms and changes in similar brain images, Efrati said. Patients could significantly reduce, or even eliminate, their use of analgesics, clarified.

A US expert who did not participate in the study said the finding has potential. “I think this could give patients another option to help manage the pain of fibromyalgia,” said Dr. Michelle Dang, a pain management specialist and anesthesiologist at Houston Methodist Hospital.

 

“It is a debilitating disease for which there are not many treatment options available, and these patients experience pain almost all day. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is not well understood, and has many different components. a good option for these patients”, said the specialist.

More information
The US National Library of Medicine offers more information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

References

https://consumer.healthday.com/espanol/diseases-and-conditions-information-37/fibromyalgia-news-310/la-terapia-en-c-aacute-mara-de-ox-iacutegeno-podr- How to alleviate fibromyalgia-suggests-a-study-700747.html
Shai Efrati, M.D., director, research and development unit, and director, Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel; Michelle Dang, MD, anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, Houston Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas; June 2015, PLOS ONE

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