Friday, July 25, 2008


So today ends my fourth week of HBO Therapy. Actually Monday since we missed one day due to a holiday. After today that will be roughly 27 or so hours of HBOT, actually therapy at treatment depth (not counting the time it takes to descend and ascend).

Which brings me to a question someone asked me last week that I wasn't able to get to. 

What exactly does the dive entail? What is it like? How do you prepare? 

On the website for the Hyperbaric Oxygen Clinic of Sacramento website it explains this well;

The treatment process may be modified for different types of chambers, either the monoplace or the multi-place chamber. In the monoplace chamber, one person at a time is treated, whereas in the multiplace chamber where more than one patient is treated at the same time, with an attendant present in the chamber.  (I am being treated in a monoplace chamber)

Only 100% cotton gown, which is supplied, is permitted in the chamber. 

(This varies by clinic. At all clinics what you wear needs to be 100% cotton only but in some you can bring your own cotton clothing. For instance, I wear shorts and a tank top usually. )

No cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants, hair preparations, wigs or jewelry are worn during the treatments. Patients are advised not to take carbonated drinks or alcohol for at least four hours prior to each treatment, and that they should give up smoking and tobacco products, as these interfere with the body's ability to transport oxygen. 

Once inside the chamber, the patient will be experience the changing pressure which is the same as that felt in an airplane when ascending or landing. Prior to the treatment, the patient is instructed in techniques of equalizing the ear/sinus pressure by yawning, swallowing, or attempting to blow through the nose while holding it shut. During the treatment the individual will be breathing 100% oxygen, dispersing oxygen into the blood plasma and delivering up to 15 times as much oxygen to tissues as would breathing room air. The treatment length is 60 - 90 minutes, depending the diagnosis and the physician's determination of treatment. The acrylic walls allow for the trained technicians to closely monitor the patient, as well as providing comfortable viewing out of the chamber. From inside the chamber the patient can always communicate with the attending technician via intercom, as well as watch TV, listen to music, or just take a nap.

Yesterday, after my session, Jason Bingham came by Dr Spiegel's clinic for a tour. many of you have been to Jason's RSD BLOGSPOT where he shares all sorts of articles on RSD. He got to see the many chambers available there. 

So what is my latest update?

I have had a pretty good week. My full body CRPS seems to be in a serious state of flux. Many of the areas where it once was, it has retreated from and it seems to be concentrating more in the four extremities. It is too soon to really go beyond this description but we will see how everything feels by around mid-week next week. It does appear to be headed for a significant change right now though, the biggest so far. 

I have also noted a fairly significant change in the frequency and length of the muscle spasms in my arms and legs. I have had, despite some of the best meds, these spasms for many years, especially at night. Most of you probably have as well. Spasms in the muscles and blood vessels are one of the FOUR MAIN SYMPTOMS OF CRPS. It wasn't anything I hadn't learned to deal with but it could be painful at times and it was always annoying and kept me up or woke me up at night. But these past three nights my muscles spasms have pretty much stopped! I was also able to cut back on the medication I take for them without noticing an increase at all!

As I mentioned before, I would be thrilled to go into remission from this treatment but I would be almost as happy to get 50% remission, especially if I was able to cut my medications significantly in the process.  How sick are all of you of dealing with the side effects of the medications? More and more I have been looking to natural remedies where possible to help.

Speaking of which, some of you have asked about vitamins and I thought I had spoken of some here but I will again briefly. 

During the HBOT it is recommended that you take vitamin E and some form of B. Many clinics administer vitamin B injections; some before the treatment and some after. These will help replenish the body and speed healing during treatment. It is also recommended that pain patients as a general rule now seriously look at a few other vitamins/supplements such as; Vitamin D, magnesium, and Fish Oil. Many pain patients are found to be deficient especially in vitamin D.  Another one to look at that helps promote a more restful and healing sleep is melatonin; the fast-acting chewable or sublingual version rather than the caplet or pill.

ok, I am off to my session. Tomorrow I am going to visit the Orlando CRPS group for their first meeting!

Then collapse and sleep most of the weekend :)

peace, Keith 

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