THE BONES & HBOT
Hyperbaric oxygen has been clinically proven to help with bone health and healing.
Hyperbaric oxygen has been clinically proven to help with bone health and healing. Bone healing can be delayed or stopped altogether by extensive trauma, bone loss, infection, aging, premature mobilization and diabetes.
Young athletes, as well as elderly diabetics, can have non-union or non-healing fractures which can cause chronic pain and disability for patients. In these circumstances, re-establishing the structural integrity of the bones can be a major challenge for doctors.
Oxygen is an essential material for cell metabolism and reparative processes. Cell proliferation and collagen synthesis have an especially increased demand for oxygen. Evidence from animal and cell line studies has shown that hyperbaric oxygen results in increased growth factor
In addition, hyperbaric oxygen is known to stimulate the production of collagen – a tough, fibrous material that fills the space between broken bones and helps the bones mend back together. Hyperbaric oxygen also promotes the fast growth of new capillaries in affected areas (angiogenesis), which in turn brings more oxygen and nutrient to the bones.
For example, in a clinical study analyzing radiated tissue, we can see how low amounts of oxygen prevent the initiation of new blood vessels. After intense hyperbaric oxygen exposure, oxygen gradients are observed to continue to move centrally and are actually eliminated at the periphery where good blood supply has been formed and wound healing was complete.
In addition, hyperbaric oxygen increases the production of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, which are the vital cells for bone growth, healing and the removal of old, dead bone. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that osteoblasts and osteoclasts are exquisitely reactive to increased oxygen. Scientists have observed that hyperbaric oxygen stimulates the proliferation of osteoblasts, providing direct cellular evidence that hyperbaric oxygen is effective for fracture healing and bone growth. Hyperbaric oxygen helps with the overall healing process and accelerates healthy bone growth.
Furthermore, hyperbaric oxygen
has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of bacterial bone
infections such as osteomyelitis, where the infection has entered the bone from infected skin, blood, muscles or tendons. Although the typical treatment for osteomyelitis is a course of antibiotics, this doesn’t always stop the infection.
As a result, the area becomes inflamed which can cause the blockage of blood vessels. Once the blood vessels are blocked, oxygen can no longer travel to the bone and the tissues begin to die. Bacteria thrive in an oxygen-depleted environment, and because of this, hyperbaric oxygen treatments provide an ideal treatment option.
The added oxygen received during hyperbaric oxygen treatment provides the tissue and bone with the necessary oxygen to promote healing. At the same time, the oxygen-rich environment slows the spread of the bacteria.
A recent study
published in 2019 examined hyperbaric oxygen for osteonecrosis. The study
summarised that hyperbaric oxygen can lead to more patients achieving complete mucosal coverage of the jawbone than with standard treatment.
As you can see, multiple clinical studies suggest that hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial for bone health and healing.