Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and concussions are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States today. Victims of TBI can suffer permanent damage to their brain that manifests in a variety of different symptoms, none of which are pleasant. The initial trauma of a TBI often results in a loss of blood flow to areas of the brain itself, and tissue begins to die as a result. This can lead to serious and sometimes permanent reductions in brain activity that can manifest as headaches, sensitivity to light, emotional instability, and loss of speech and/or motor function.
Currently, there are few effective medical solutions for individuals trying to return to normal after a TBI. The current standard of care usually calls simply for rest until symptoms subside. Unfortunately for many people, symptoms can persist for months or even years after the initial accident, which can lead to serious problems with work and family relationships. Treatments like Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy can help patients learn to live with their symptoms, but don’t address the root cause of the issues, which is damage to the brain itself. However, there is a growing body of research that points to a safe and relatively inexpensive treatment that doctors around the world have started to use to successfully treat patients with concussions and TBIs.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, or HBOT, is the process of subjecting the body to increased atmospheric pressure (1.5 or greater ATA), while breathing a much higher concentration of oxygen (95-100%). Under these conditions, oxygen dissolves directly into blood plasma and surrounding tissues, leading to oxygen saturations 1000% higher than normal. With consistent treatment, the body begins to upregulate cellular activity that is absolutely essential to the healing process. Years of research has shown that HBOT can actually heal damaged brain tissue and reduce symptoms, even if the initial injury occurred years earlier.
In a study performed by renowned hyperbaric researchers Rahav Bussi-Gross and Shai Efrati, fifty-six patients with diagnosed TBIs 1-5 years old underwent a protocol of forty 60-minute HBOT sessions at 1.5 ATA of pressure, breathing 100% oxygen. Patients showed improvement across the board in cognitive testing, brain scans, and their reported quality of life. The researchers wrote in their conclusions that, “this study provides convincing results based on a crossover study, demonstrating that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity and significant brain function improvements in mild TBI patients with prolonged Post-Concussion-Syndrome at late chronic stage, years after injury.”
At ATX Hyperbarics, we have seen first hand just how amazing these results can be. We have helped patients with a wide variety of experiences, from acute TBIs to patients who are still experiencing serious chronic impairment years after their original injury. We are able to replicate the same protocols used in the study, and will work with your doctors to plan the best protocol for your situation. If you are someone who is struggling with the effects of a concussion or TBI, please give us a call or check out our website, atxhyperbarics.com, to get started!