As far as injuries go, brain injuries can be among the most degenerative and difficult to understand. With all of our medical advances, doctors are still mostly in the dark when it comes to the brain.
With a record number of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions now part of daily health discussions, where can people turn for help?
Well, one option that was covered by the Denver Post some weeks ago that caught my eye is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). The idea is to saturate the body’s blood system with up to 15 times more oxygen than breathing air that is found in a typical room. With brain injuries, damaged brain cells often die or become dormant due to lack of oxygen. If your body can carry more healing oxygen to the brain, it can actually jumpstart itself to grow new capillaries to pump oxygen-rich blood to damaged tissues.
In the area, Rocky Mountain Hyperbaric Institute (RMHI) in Louisville is one of the go-to places for oxygen treatment. They specialize in brain injuries and chronic wound healing. Their hyperbaric oxygen therapy is FDA-approved and features the inhalation of 100% oxygen in a chamber where the atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled. And the results have been ongoing for decades, according to the RMHI website.
From traumatic brain injury to post traumatic stress disorder to post concussive syndrome, hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been shown to help increase cognitive ability, improve recovery in motor skills and decrease anti-depressant medication intake. And the best part of it is that it’s non-invasive.
Patients simply breathe air in a special chamber, and watch movies, listen to music, read or take a nap while receiving treatment. People typically come in three to five times per week over the course of six weeks.
While there is no guarantee regarding hyperbaric oxygen treatment, it offers hope to people who have brain injuries. When you have been suffering from something that is invisible, and nearly impossible to clearly diagnose, any potential treatment is a good thing.