Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) causes painful misery for patients who suffer with it and frustration for their doctors, who try to administer relief. Historically, traditional methods of intervention (mainly opioids and antidepressants) have been mostly unsuccessful in alleviating the chronic pain that develops from this complicated condition. Thankfully, doctors have discovered that many CRPS patients respond with dramatic improvement when treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
CRPS usually shows up after an injury, however,the pain is typically much worse than what was experienced from the initial trauma. Although not completely understood, doctors believe the syndrome stems from mixed up signals firing from the patient's sympathetic nervous system. Think of a light switch that is stuck in the “on position” and can’t be turned off. The body keeps sending signals through its switchboard to the old injury site, encouraging and permitting swelling and inflammation to continue long after healing has already occurred. This creates a vicious cycle of continued pain and inability to overcome the injury.
Two recently published research articles describe HBOT’s ability to interrupt the body’s errant signals and provide substantial and sustained pain relief. (To read more: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment in recurrent development of complex regional pain syndrome: A case report and Successful Treatment of Long Standing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy