Nerve Pain Relief Through Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is a medical procedure that speeds up the body’s natural healing process by increasing oxygen in the blood. It’s used to treat certain hard-to-heal wounds and may save a limb from amputation.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be an effective treatment for nerve pain, including trigeminal neuralgia. This procedure reduces discomfort by relieving inflammation, improving blood circulation and stimulating new nerve cell growth. Furthermore, this therapy may prevent future episodes of neuropathic discomfort from arising.
The mTOR signaling pathway is involved in neuropathic pain, activating when activated by inflammatory proteins like TNF-a or interleukin-2 (IL-2). Studies have revealed that HBOT may help to inhibit mTOR phosphorylation while increasing autophagy – an essential step for tissue repair and regeneration.
HBOT may also stimulate neurocyte proliferation and revascularization, potentially increasing the number of blood vessels in the brain. This increased circulation helps prevent harmful chemicals that cause inflammation that could otherwise lead to chronic pain.
This treatment is generally safe and doesn’t require sedation. However, mild nausea or temporary nearsightedness are common side effects of breathing 100% oxygen under pressure; these are completely normal reactions.
Before receiving this treatment, a patient must meet certain criteria and undergo an evaluation. The treatment itself takes only one and a quarter hours in a sealed chamber with a respiratory therapist accompanying the patient throughout.
During your treatment, you’ll wear a mask with an oxygen tank on your face that fits securely over your mouth and nose. Additionally, you’ll don a suit of nitrile rubber gloves to shield yourself from the heat and airflow in the chamber.
After several treatments, you should experience little to no neuropathic pain and be able to walk without assistance or use your hands and fingers more comfortably.
A hyperbaric chamber is necessary for this procedure, which has transparent walls and an oxygen source. Some chambers are designed for just one patient, while others can accommodate several people simultaneously. You’ll lie on a table that slides into the chamber, with a respiratory therapist accompanying you throughout your treatment.
If you have a severe or undiagnosed medical condition, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may not be suitable for you. Be sure to inform your doctor of all medications you’re taking and any existing health conditions. They will also want information regarding any previous surgeries or procedures performed.
Patients with neuropathy are especially at risk for serious complications, such as pulmonary barotrauma (increased pressure in the lungs), middle ear injuries and increased sinus congestion and pressure. If you experience any of these symptoms during your treatment for neuropathy, contact your doctor or go directly to the emergency room immediately.