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Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment a New Form of Pain Relief?

A new study has been released from Washington State University researchers. If confirmed, hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) treatments may possibly one day be used to treat people with chronic/neuropathic pain.

Working with rats, the investigators surveyed whether relief of neuropathic/chronic pain could be heightened by increasing the number of hperbaric oxygen therapy treatments.

The paws of male rats were measured for pain thresholds at four different times after being injected with a pain-inducing matter. Twenty-four hours after the last injection, they were treated with either 60-minutes of hyperbaric oxygen therapy or 60-minutes of room air.

Rats that received 60-minute hyperbaric oxygen treatments recovered roughly seven days sooner than rats receiving a single treatment.

The authors accredit their findings and suggest hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a positive effect not only on inflammatory structures involved in pain, but also on pain receptors in the brain.

Studying the mechanics of how hyperbaric oxygen treatments can reduce chronic pain can introduce molecular points in the brain and perhaps activate the development of new medications that perform on the same points for long-term relief of neuropathic/chronic pain, according to study author Raymond M. Quock, PhD.

The investigators presented their findings at the recent meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.