Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-concussion Syndrome

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provided within a range of 1.5 to 2.0 atmospheres of pressure for 60 minutes over 40 treatments has a potential effect for traumatic brain injury and post concussion syndrome.  Patients receiving treatment at our clinic in Calgary have reported improved outcomes in the following areas:

  • Focus and attention;
  • Clarity of thought;
  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness;
  • Nausea;
  • Sleep quality;
  • Memory
  • Mood

In a 2013 study by Rahav Boussi-Gross, et al, “Hyperbaric Oxygen Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brian Injury – Randomized Prospective Trail”, concluded the following:

“In conclusion, this study provides, for the first time, convincing results based on a cross over study, demonstrating that HBOT can induce neuroplasticity and significant brain function improvements in mild TBI patients with prolonged Post-Concussion-Syndrome at late chronic stage, years after injury.”



Case Studies

Hyperbaric Oxygen brings hope to two brain injured hockey players

Below are two success stories of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy helping young, brain-injured hockey players make full recoveries.

The first hockey player, 24 years old, suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting from a head to head collision, landing him in the hospital. After one month he returned to practice, which ended in a severe concussion. The patient consequently suffered constant headaches, dizziness, and nausea, as well as experiencing ringing in his ears, difficulty sleeping properly, and vomiting with little stimulation.

After the initial assessment, it was decided it would be best to treat the patient with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Each of the daily treatment sessions lasted 60 minutes at a pressure of 1.5 ATA (about the equivalent of being under 4.5 meters of water) in 100% oxygen.

Throughout treatment, the patient reported better quality of sleep, diminished headaches, and no more ringing in his ears. By the end of the 30 prescribed sessions he reported significant improvement in his condition. In fact, upon assessment via a post-concussion symptoms questionnaire, the patient reported that all seven of his initial symptoms had disappeared.

The second hockey player, age 16, sustained two concussions a mere three weeks apart. Following the second concussion, he became nauseous, emotional, restless, experienced difficulty with memory and thought processes, and bouts of double vision. He gradually lost the ability to read over a two week span, and was unable to attend school due to the severity of his symptoms.

A CAT (Computer Axial Tomography) scan showed no abnormalities, and a neurologist diagnosed the patient with post-concussion syndrome, ordering treatment with various medications followed by narcotics along with “black boxed” antidepressants (drugs that carry a warning about potential for severe side effects, in this case increased suicidal thoughts and behaviours in children and adolescents.)

Upon arriving at the Nardella Clinic in Calgary the patient rated his condition at 3/10, and after cognitive assessment the naturopathic doctors deemed he would benefit most from HBOT. Similar to the first case above, this patient received treatment of 100% oxygen at 1.5 ATA for 60 minutes per day. Instead of 30 sessions, however, he received 40.

The end result was a complete return of the patient’s visual-motor functions (the body’s ability to coordinate what the eye sees with the movements of the body; hand-eye coordination), 70% improvement in reaction time, complete disappearance of headaches and nausea, and much improved quality of sleep and memory.

Perhaps the most important result is that the patient himself rated his overall condition at 9/10.

Post-Concussion Syndrome: Healing the Brain

A female in her forties came to the Calgary clinic four months after a concussion with brief loss of consciousness. She was still experiencing positional vertigo, memory problems, and severe daily headaches. She was having difficulty at work completing forms and finishing tasks. Her sleep was being affected as the headaches were waking her up. She was also suffering from severe tinnitus, hearing problems, and photosensitivity.

The patient was already on a naturopathic regimen of vitamins and supplements. Hyperbaric oxygen was recommended to her for its ability to decrease neurological inflammation and help to heal the area around the damage called the penumbra, which is an area of cells that have been affected by the trauma but can still heal. Hyperbaric oxygen helps to deliver healing nutrients through increased blood flow to this area of the brain.

After the first two treatments the patient already noticed a significant decrease in her tinnitus and improvement in her hearing. She completed forty (40) treatments (five days/week) and reported complete resolution of “concussion headaches” and tinnitus, improved sleep, improvement in energy, and decreased brain fog.

To continue to support the neurological healing the patient is now doing weekly IV glutathione. Glutathione is an anti-oxidant that promotes neurological healing. With hyperbarics and naturopathic IV therapy, the patient is feeling better and has reduced the risk of complications in the future from neurological damage.

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