HBOT Management for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
HBOT supersaturates tissues that have been deprived of oxygen because of the swelling of a limb. HBOT also decreases the degree of edema. A more than 75% response rate can occur, but that usually takes more than 20 managements. HBOT results in permanent relief of the symptoms whereas nerve blocks usually result in only temporary relief.
To remove the signs and symptoms of RSD, two components need to be dealt with using HBOT:
- Restoring the circulation to the affected limb, thereby reducing the inflammation and swelling so the affected limb can survive
- Working on the central nervous system starting at the afferent pathway (from the affected limb to the neural pathway extending up to the brain region) so that the level of pain can be reduced. The pain results from chronic irritation of a peripheral sensory nerve that becomes irritated following the traumatic event to the limb. The increased nerve stimulation occurs as a result of the soft tissue damage and swelling.
The pain in this syndrome is chronic irritation of a peripheral sensory nerve, secondary to trauma, and soft tissue damage resulting in increased afferent output.