HBOT For Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)/ (RSD)


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS, formerly known as RSD Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, and more specifically, the Sympathetic Nervous System. CRPS typically develops after an injury, a surgery, a stroke or a heart attack. The pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. The chronic (Long lasting/ lasting greater than six months) pain is characterized as constant, extremely intense, and out of proportion to the original injury. The pain is typically accompanied by swelling, skin changes, extreme sensitivity, and can often be debilitating. It usually affects one or more of the four limbs but can occur in any part of the body and in over 70% of the victims it spreads to additional areas. CRPS can follow a simple trauma (fall or sprain) a break or fracture (especially wrist and ankle) a sharp force injury (such as a knife or bullet wound), heart problems, infections, surgery, RSI/CTS, spinal injuries/disorders, or major trauma. But the precipitating cause is not always known. The original injury may happen weeks, months, or even years before the proper diagnosis is made, which contributes to this problem. CRPS strikes both men and women, but typically about 75% of patients are women. It strikes victims from 1 to 101, although about 65% of patients contract the disease in their thirties and/or forties.

Benefits of HBOT :

In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study we aimed to assess the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy for treating patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Of the 71 patients, 37 were allocated to the HBO group and 34 to the control (normal air) group. Both groups received 15 therapy sessions in a hyperbaric chamber. Pain, oedema and range of motion (ROM) of the wrist were evaluated before treatment, after the 15th treatment session and on day 45. In the HBO group there was a significant decrease in pain and oedema and a significant increase in the ROM of the wrist. When we compared the two groups, the HBO group had significantly better results with the exception of wrist extension. In conclusion, HBO is an effective and well-tolerated method for decreasing pain and oedema and increasing the ROM in patients with CRPS. Hyperbaric oxygenation decreases inflammation and edema while increasing blood flow to the starved limbs and nerves that are damaged by the course of the disease.

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