Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Injury Recovery and Enhanced Performance
Injuries caused by sports-related activities are a substantial concern among players, coaches and parents alike with inflammation and pain play primary roles with respect to recovery.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to significantly reduce injury inflammation and ameliorate pain. HBOT can also promote fibroblast/collagen activity to accelerate and enhance healing from surgeries and wounds.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a widely used treatment by many elite athletes for recovery from muscle injuries and can help athletes achieve full recovery from high-impact insults to the body. The therapy is currently used by some of the U.S. Olympic Teams to treat sports-related injuries as a part of their official medical techniques and equipment. New evidence supports HBOT as an adjunct and practical treatment to help moderate the effects of traumatic brain injuries, such as those experienced in football and similar sports.
Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Sports-Related Injuries
Studies have demonstrated the following benefits of HBOT for sports-related injuries.
Accelerate Recovery from Sports-Related Injuries
- Increases Collagen Production
- Reduces Inflammation and Pain
- Faster and Better Recovery from Sprains, Tears and Bone Fractures
- Stimulates Angiogenesis
- Enhances Recovery from Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
- Decreases Susceptibility Towards Reinjuring Target Areas
- Rapid Recovery from Concussions and Head Injuries
- Improves SPECT Imaging Results
Faster Recovery from Surgeries
- Increases Fibroblast Activation
- Reduces Inflammation for Optimal Pre-Op Conditions
- Reduces Risk of Infection
- Stimulates Stem Cell Proliferation
- Decreases Hospital Time
Amplify Recovery from Intensive Training
- Accelerates Healing from Acute Muscle Strain
- Improves Blood Flow
- Proliferates the Production of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate (ATP)
- Improves Concentration
- Increases Serotonin Levels
- Accelerates Jet Lag Recovery
- Decreases Lactic Acid
Source: International Hyperbarics Association
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Below are two research articles about the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy with athletes.
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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as an Adjuvant for Athletes
“The best experience of HBOT use as a recovery method from muscular fatigue occurred during the Nagano Winter Olympics with seven participating athletes. After physical activity, the athletes received HBOT treatment for 30-40 minutes at 1.3 ATA, with a maximum of six times per athlete and an average of two times of athlete. An athlete who experienced tension and sharp pain of the abdominal muscles was able to play a game after HBOT treatment with almost no pain. Another player who was experiencing anterior knee pain was treated within 2 days of injury and was able to perform afterwards with no difficulty. These test cases show that HBOT treatments demonstrate high performance without adverse effects such as muscular pain and nerve paralysis. Players were also able to benefit from the conditioning effects of HBOT treatment.”
Read the full study “Hyperbaric oxygen as an adjuvant for athletes.”.
Sports Med. 2005;35(9):739-46.
NFL Athlete Improves Cognitive Functioning with HBOT
In 2011, a case report was published involving an NFL player who suffered multiple concussions. This subsequently led to the development of hydrocephalus, which required emergency shunt brain surgery. The star athlete continued playing and won the Super Bowl, only for his shunt to fail, which led to additional emergency back-to-back surgeries. Following his surgeries, he received 40, one-hour treatments of HBOT. After the treatment protocol, he was independently assessed with neurocognitive evaluations and SPECT brain imaging by the Amen Clinic in California. Marked improvement in 5 out of 6 indices on the MicroCog assessment for cognitive functioning (a computerized assessment sequence designed to detect early signs of cognitive impairment) was confirmed, in addition to drastic enhancements with respect to SPECT imaging.
Read the full study “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (1.5 ATA) in treating sports-related TBI/CTE: two case reports”.