Cerebral Palsy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Cerebral palsy, a developmental disability that first affects children before three years of age, can be helped with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

There is a large body of research on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, and the research is promising!

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Cerebral Palsy Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disability that occurs before the age of three years. It occurs when the brain suffers damage due to a lack of oxygen for any amount of time. It often occurs due to a stroke suffered by a baby while inside the uterus or difficulties during the birth process that leave a child without oxygen. It is often diagnosed with a brain scan or assessment by a pediatric disability specialist.

Due to the fact that the brain can sustain damage from a lack of oxygen for varying amounts of times, cerebral palsy is not a cut-and-dry diagnosis. One can be without oxygen for a short amount of time and only have minor physical or mental difficulties that leave one able to still lead a relatively normal life. However, it is also possible for a child to go without oxygen for a significant amount of time. This leads to gross motor issues, mental delays, and spasms.

While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are many treatments and therapies that aim to minimize the delays cause by cerebral palsy and allow people to live more productive lives. One of the therapies that is rapidly gaining popularity and significance is hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

What does this mean for people with cerebral palsy and parents of young children with cerebral palsy? The earlier one seeks hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, the better the outcomes generally are.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves the child/adult with cerebral palsy sitting in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber for the duration of a session—usually 60-120 minutes. Since many people with cerebral palsy must use wheelchairs for mobility, they may use hyperbaric chambers that are suited for sitting patients, rather than those that require you to lie down.
The goals of hyperbaric therapy for cerebral palsy are to improve motor function and allow the brain to heal parts that have been damaged by hypoxia. There is a large body of research on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, and the research is promising!

A recent study, performed in India, has affected how hyperbaric oxygen therapy is viewed in the United States and abroad[1].  There were four different groups, varying between placebo and different types of hyperbaric therapy. There were considerable improvements in the three groups that received hyperbaric oxygen therapy compared to those who received a placebo treatment.

hat does this mean for people with cerebral palsy and parents of young children with cerebral palsy? The earlier one seeks hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, the better the outcomes generally are[2].  However, patients at all stages of life and with varying severities of cerebral palsy noticed improvements in many areas, including global motor coordination, memory, visual perception, and a decrease in spasticity[3].

Getting hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy is an affordable, effective treatment that works by helping the body help itself. The research says that you can experience great improvements in the areas that cerebral palsy impairs—imagine what you or a loved one could do with greater mental skills, motor planning, and physical movement.

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