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Joint pain and the menopause | How HBOT can help

Menopause is something endured by millions of women, with some having a worse experience than others. It is created through a change in the balance of hormones, which tends to happen as you get older, but can sometimes occur in younger adults.

There are so many symptoms, some of which are extremely hard to live with. Some of the most common include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood change
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Joint ache and stiffness
  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Brain fog
  • Tinnitus
  • Whilst hyperbaric oxygen therapy can’t target the root cause of the menopause directly, it can certainly help with the unbearable symptoms that women may suffer from as a result, and is considered a promising new approach that is gaining popularity within the medical community.

    The decline of oestrogen during menopause

    A lot of the symptoms of menopause are brought about by hormone production levels dropping, most prominently oestrogen.  

    Oestrogen plays a vital role in maintaining healthy joints by reducing inflammation and promoting the production of synovial fluid, which is responsible for lubricating the joints. As oestrogen levels decline, joint tissues become drier and inflammation increases, leading to joint ache, pain and stiffness. 

    Women who are going through, or have gone through, menopause, are far more likely to suffer from osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints, something that is exacerbated by the decline of the synovial fluid thanks to lack of oestrogen.  

    Engaging in regular, gentle exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help relieve the pressure from your joints. Becoming far more conscious of your posture whilst sitting for extended periods, either when relaxing or working, is also something that might help alleviate some of the pain.   

    HBOT and the menopause

    Other than hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), there is no real ‘quick-fix’ when it comes to menopause – it’s all about working out what’s best for you. Whilst HBOT won’t replenish your oestrogen levels, it certainly has the potential to offset some of the side effects that come from the depletion of the hormone.  

    Incorporating HBOT into your life and health routine will help maintain the training levels necessary to offset the unwanted effects of the drops in oestrogen (especially if coupled with HRT).  HBOT has been shown to be beneficial for women suffering from arthritis by reducing inflammation and pain.   

    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be used to tackle general joint pain as a result of arthritis, saturating the blood with near-pure oxygen to help reduce inflammation around all the joints in your body, not just the arthritic ones. Tissue hypoxia in the joints will also be reversed, reducing pain and improving joint range-of-motion, altogether attenuating the progression of the disease.  

    The higher atmospheric pressure will also promote the production of collagen, which is essential for healthy connective tissue and joints, even increasing cartilage tissue at the appropriate ATA.  The increase in pressure allows oxygen to dissolve into the body’s fluids, such as plasma, lymph and cerebrospinal fluid, and reach areas of the body with low oxygen levels, such as damaged or inflamed tissues.  

    Other ways HBOT can help

    Commonly used by people who struggle to sleep, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also help in the easing of insomnia, night sweats and heart palpitations, a few other side effects suffered by women during menopause. 

    HBOT has been shown to improve sleep quality by increasing the production of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep. It’s also considered to be extremely effective as a complementary therapy alongside conventional sleep treatment, reducing patients’ dependence on sleep medication.