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How hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help with arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people around the globe, typically in the aftermath of injury or wear and tear, and refers to the inflammation of one or more joints in the body. 

Are there different types of arthritis?

There are two main types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the cartilage that covers the ends of our bones wears down over time, causing the bones to rub against each other. This can lead to pain, stiffness and swelling in the affected joint and is most commonly found in the knees, hips, hands and the spine.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body’s immune system to attack the joints. This can lead to inflammation, pain and swelling in the affected joint. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to the joint, leading to deformities and loss of function. 

There is a misconception that arthritis is a condition which affects only older adults. While it is true that the risk of developing arthritis increases with age, people of all ages can be affected by arthritis, including children and young adults. Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can develop at a young age and have a significant impact on a person’s daily life.

While there are different medical treatments available to manage arthritis, they may have some unpleasant side effects. Common medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), which can cause stomach ulcers, liver damage and increased risk of infections. Similarly, joint replacement surgery, a common treatment option for advanced osteoarthritis, can result in pain, swelling and infection. 

How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy help?

Compared to traditional medical treatments, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has very few side effects. People may experience some mild discomfort during the treatment, such as ear popping or a feeling of fullness in the ears, but these side effects typically go away after the treatment is complete. 

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves the use of a special chamber that allows people to breathe in near-pure oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. This process helps increase the amount of oxygen in the body’s tissues, which promotes healing and reduce inflammation.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to be effective in treating symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Traditional treatments have limited effectiveness, and people often have to rely on a combination of medications, lifestyle changes and surgery to manage their symptoms. HBOT has emerged as one of the most effective and safe treatment options for people with rheumatoid arthritis. It helps reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and promote healing in affected joints, without the side effects associated with many medications and surgeries.  

In a study published in the ‘Journal of Arthritis Research & Therapy’ researchers found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy improved pain, function, and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The study involved 40 patients who received 10 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen therapy over a period of two weeks. After the treatment, patients reported significant improvements in pain and function.

Another study published in the journal ‘Rheumatology International’ found that hyperbaric oxygen therapy was effective in reducing pain and inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study involved 25 patients who received 20 sessions of HBOT over a period of four weeks. After the treatment, patients reported significant improvements in pain, morning stiffness and grip strength.