HBOT Improves Peripheral Nerve Regeneration

Several studies have documented the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen in models of acute and delayed crush injury. Intermittent exposure to hyperbaric hyperoxia serves to interrupt the injury cycle of edema, ischemia and tissue necrosis (1), as well as hemorrhagic hypotension (2), which in turn leads to former edema and ischemia. Tissue ischemia is countered by the ability of hyperbaric oxygen to elevate tissue oxygen tensions (3). Furthermore, edema is reduced, secondary to hyperoxia-induced arteriolar vasoconstriction (4), leading to improved tissue viability, thereby reducing necrosis (1). Hyperbaric oxygen has also been studied in models of peripheral nerve injury (5). Researchers from the US Air Force School Aerospace Medicine and Louisiana State University recently sought to determine what, if any, morphologic changes are associated with hyperbaric oxygen treated peripheral nerve injury (6). Their model involved a crushed sciatic nerve in the rabbit.

Exposure to hyperbaric oxygen across the range of current clinical dose schedules was compared to untreated, and pressure (hyperbaric air) controls. A pathologist blinded as to group documented the extent of nerve regeneration via morphologic analysis of electron micrographs.  All of the animals exposed to hyperbaric oxygen were reported to demonstrate advanced stages of a healed nerve, in contrast to both control groups.  As this research was limited to a determination of regeneration of morphology, the exact effects of hyperbaric oxygen were not known. The authors speculate, however, that there may be several suggesting increased myelination, decreased edema, reduced internal collagen and improvements in neurofilamentous material density. They conclude that this study provides additional evidence of a link between tissue oxygen levels from hyperbaric oxygen treatment and the health of peripheral nerves.

... all animals exposed to hyperbaric oxygen "demonstrated characteristics expected of in the advanced stages of a healed nerve"

Of the estimated 20 million people in the United States with diabetes, 3 million struggle with DPN—and even patients with pre-diabetes and impaired glucose (blood sugar) tolerance may have symptoms. The older the person is, the longer he or she has had diabetes, and the less-controlled the disease, the greater chance of feeling pain because of damaged nerves.

Fifty percent of patients with long-standing diabetes have numbness, burning, electrical sensations, stabbing, or shooting pain in their feet or legs—and it’s usually worse at night. While the pain is uncomfortable, the lack of sensation can have even worse consequences. If a person’s shoes fit improperly, are too tight, have rough spots inside, or rub when the person walks, the blisters, abrasions or cuts may not be felt. Because circulation is not as good as it is for people without diabetes, these wounds can become infected and very difficult to heal.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is a very effective treatment for diabetic neuropathy. By driving oxygen deep into tissues, it reduces cell death and pain symptoms. Hyperbaric oxygen also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels, enabling the body to increase effective oxygen and nutrient delivery.

If there is tissue damage and a wound that resists healing, many insurance companies will cover Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

To help you discover what Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can do for you, for a limited time, Dr. Spiegel will provide a free assessment to determine if you would benefit from this treatment. To schedule an appointment, click here.

About Dr. Spiegel

Allan M. Spiegel, M.D., completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Vermont in Burlington, and received his Medical Degree from the University of the East in Quezon City, Philippines, where he studied conventional and tropical medicine.

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