Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Imagine living every single day with intense pain, swollen skin, and symptoms that are constantly spreading to new areas of your body. If you have Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/RSD, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, this is your reality. Both the terms Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/RSD and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/CRPS will be used in this article to reach those who know the disease by only one name.

In most cases of RSD, a patient experience pain in one extremity. In 92% of cases, pain spreads to other extremities and parts of the body, with 35% of patients eventually reporting pain that covers their entire body[1].

Research in the field of CRPS has led experts to believe that this disorder is caused by many different factors. Some of these factors include brain inflammation, allodynia, and maladaptive neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to recoup lost skills and abilities by using other parts of the brain to pick up skills that were lost through trauma to another part of the brain.

Patients often lose mental functions, physical abilities, and gain permanent disabilities. Clearly, there is something going wrong with the brain in this diagnosis. However, due to the fact that RSD is relatively unknown both amongst laypeople and medical professionals, there are few treatments and options for pain relief for RSD patients.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has recently come into the spotlight as an effective treatment for CRPS. Other treatments include expensive medications that can leave a person bankrupt—not to mention the myriad side effects that one can experience from these medications.

HBOT is a pain reduction therapy for CRPS sufferers that have benefits no other treatment can offer. Patients do not need to take potentially dangerous medications, inject themselves with narcotic painkillers, or risk becoming addicted to painkillers.

What do RSD patients who have tried HBOT have to say? Many RSD patients who use HBOT continue to use it on a regular basis for the amazing pain relief it offers[2].  Patients can experience their symptoms decreasing in severity after just a few HBOT sessions.

CRPS patients who are considered hyperbaric oxygen therapy often wonder how it works for CRPS symptoms. HBOT does not cure RSD, as there is no cure for this debilitating disease. However, it offers significant pain relief. The amount of oxygen going to the brain and through the bloodstream decreases the amount of swelling in a patient’s extremities and encourages healing in parts of the brain that have been damaged by RSD.

Some patients note massive improvements in their condition after seeking hyperbaric oxygen therapy. One female patient, who used a wheelchair to get around, began to experience pain relief after six sessions of treatment. After two months of treatment she stopped using her wheelchair most of the time and was able to resume walking[3].

To put it concisely, regular sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can assist in easing the pain and symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. In as little as six sessions, you can experience pain relief without the use of harmful drugs.