Spinal Injury and Sports Injury with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Spinal injuries and sports injuries are some of the most physically devastating injuries. However, the chances of recovery are much greater with the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Positive side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be experienced in those with minor spinal cord injuries, all the way up to those with severe spinal cord injuries.

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Spinal Injury and Sports Injury with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

As one of the main parts of the central nervous system, the spinal cord is an incredibly important part of the body. It provides the framework for everything in the body and allows the body’s extremities to work. Those who suffer spinal cord injuries often lose some or all feeling in their legs, leading to a decrease or complete loss of the ability to ambulate.

There are several main ways in which a person can suffer a spinal injury. Car accidents, especially ones in which people are not wearing seatbelts, can often lead to spinal injuries. Diving into shallow water and the subsequent impact with the bottom of a pool can cause serious spinal cord injuries in the neck.

However, possibly the most common way in which people suffer spinal injuries is a sports injury. Sports like rugby, football, and wrestling involve considerable impact with other players, leading to concussions and career- or life-ending injuries.

These types of injuries have considerable impact on how a person lives. Mental side effects are common, including loss of memory, inability to speak, and impulse control. Physical side effects include back pain, less endurance for walking, and complete paralysis of the lower body.

The research on the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on spinal and sports injuries is very positive.

Sports aren’t going away any time soon, so it is essential that we find ways to treat spinal and sports injuries. Les Miles, a coach at LSU, has first-hand experience with sports injuries, thanks to the many players he has coached over the years. As a coach, he has advocated for his players to have access to HBOT after traumatic injuries[1].

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Spinal Injury and Sports Injury HBOT

The research on the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on spinal and sports injuries is very positive. After a session in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, oxygen dissolves into the body and becomes available for use by the body. The body can then use the oxygen to repair damaged cells and promote the growth of new, healthy cells.

It is particularly promising for those with spinal injuries. Dr. Philip James noticed that damaged spinal nerves received more oxygen for hyperbaric oxygen therapy—even better, that oxygen was being used by the body to resuscitate dead and dying cells[2]. While hyperbaric oxygen therapy does not work in cases where the spinal cord is severed, leading to complete paralysis, it does work in cases where the spinal cord is bruised. Positive side effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be experienced in those with minor spinal cord injuries, all the way up to those with severe spinal cord injuries.

Functional recovery is one of the areas that research examines to determine the efficacy of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This refers to a patient’s ability to retain or retrieve the ability to work or use their body. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been found to be beneficial after a spinal cord injury, making it one of the most promising therapies for otherwise untreatable injuries[3].

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