If you are have experienced a traumatic brain injury or a stroke, or are a sufferer of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or another chronic pain disorder, you may be familiar with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This medical treatment involves the inhalation of 100% oxygen, within a pressurized chamber, in order to stimulate and enhance the body’s natural healing process. Although Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is approved by the FDA, patients are often nervous before beginning the process. Here are four common questions and answers for those who exploring HBOT as a treatment for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and other conditions.
- Are hyperbaric oxygen treatments safe?
Like any medical treatment, there are small risks to HBOT. However, this treatment is prescribed by a doctor and is always performed under the supervision of a medical technician. Overall, it’s considered to be extremely safe.
- What kinds of side effects can I expect?
The most common side-effect is barotrauma to the sinuses and ears, due to a change in pressure. To combat this, patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment are taught methods to clear the ears during compression. In addition, some patients may experience changes in vision. Both of these side effects are typically temporary and minor in nature. In very rare cases, oxygen toxicity can occur.
- Are there things I cannot wear during my treatment?
You are not permitted to wear makeup, perfume, deodorant, jewelry, or artificial hair in the chamber. In addition, you can wear only clean cotton fabrics. Typically, patients should quit smoking during the treatment period, and are advised not to drink alcohol or carbonated beverages within four hours of their treatment.
- Is there anything I should tell my technician before beginning HBOT?
Your HBOT technician needs to know if you are taking any medications (including non-prescription drugs), or if there has been any change in the medications you take. If you are experiencing any illness (including a cold, the flu, a fever or sinus and nasal congestion), let your technician know. You should also tell your technician if you have skipped a meal, a regular insulin treatment, or if you think you might be pregnant.
It’s important to explore all of your options and learn as much as possible about any given treatment for your condition. If you are considering Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as treatment for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or have questions about treatment for RSD, talk to your physician.