Traumatic Brain Injury and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries can improve their physical and mental symptoms with the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Clearly, HBOT is onto something that can help those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Like other therapies, the key is early diagnosis and early treatment.

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Traumatic Brain Injury and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Traumatic brain injuries take on a variety of forms and severities, depending on the cause of the injury and how much damage the brain sustained. Common causes of traumatic brain injuries include car accidents, hypoxia due to fire and smoke, sports injuries, and bomb blasts in war.

No thanks to how varied TBIcases are, it has been difficult to find remedies that will treat traumatic brain injuries and help patients recover or retain as much motor ability and cognitive ability as possible.

This is quickly becoming a public health issue as traumatic brain injuries become more and more common. As people drive longer and more often, their chances of sustaining a TBI due to a car crash rises. A huge amount of veterans are returning home from the war in Iraq with traumatic brain injuries that they sustained while serving their country.

Treatments that have been used for traumatic brain injuries in the past (and continue to be used today) treat the symptoms of traumatic brain injury, not the injury itself. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive training are all used on a regular basis and they are often used in conjunction with each other. However, if these treatments and therapies are not kept up, patients often regress in their development. They may forget things quickly, lose the physical strength and motor capabilities developed during physical therapy, and return to needing help for basic, everyday tasks.

The use of HBOT shortly after a traumatic brain injury can improve the brain’s neuroplasticity.

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TBI and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Those who served their country, and in fact all TBI patients, deserve to recover as much of their brain function as possible. That’s where hyperbaric oxygen therapy comes in. By delivering pure oxygen directly to the brain and the muscles of the body, the brain is more easily able to repair its damaged parts. The use of HBOT shortly after a traumatic brain injury can improve the brain’s neuroplasticity[1].  Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to heal and recover from injuries by redirecting other neurological resources to tasks that were the responsibility of damaged brain areas.

There is lots of exciting research that confirms hyperbaric oxygen therapy’s ability to help the brain recover cognitive ability after a brain injury. When the effectiveness of HBOT was studied in regards to symptoms, physical exam[2], quality of life, and psychometric testing, researchers were thrilled at the results. 80% of patients improved in a majority of their symptoms, and physical examination showed that all of the subjects improved on the abnormalities initially found in their physical exam.

These findings increased even more after patients underwent 40 full HBOT sessions. The same study also found that patients who underwent HBOT had improved cognitive abilities, including memory, impulsivity, inattention, and reaction time.

Clearly, HBOT is onto something that can help those who suffer from traumatic brain injuries. Like other therapies, the key is early diagnosis and early treatment.

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