There are a high incidence of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) cases in the US currently, and this ailment is becoming a significant cause for concern among the veterans.
Numerous veterans returning from various war zones often suffer from mild to severe TBI and adjunctive treatment options such as hyperbaric therapy have become the need of the hour.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
Any head injury that is sustained due to an external, mechanical impact on the brain leading to the deterioration of the cognitive functions is known as traumatic brain injury. Patients with TBI usually complain of headaches, short-term memory loss and in a few cases, experience impairment of speech and motor skills.
This condition is known to occur due to injured brain tissues that can lead to ischemic or hypoxic complications if left untreated for a longer duration.
Veterans with TBI or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are known to experience immense stress and anxiety. These situations make it imperative for the family members to comprehend the needs of the individuals and take necessary precautions in the initial stages of TBI. Adopting suitable treatment options such as hyperbaric therapy can help TBI patients heal faster and improve their essential cognitive functions in the quickest possible time.
Delays in treatment can hamper the confidence level in the patients and induce severe emotional trauma. Most veterans tend to become extremely reclusive. Lack of confidence and show signs of irritability if they are not given the right treatment at the earliest.
A Navy Veteran’s Battle With TBI:
James Skarin, an aircraft firefighter, served a tenure of fourteen years in various departments of the Navy.
“You know you’re talking about a jet idle at 120 decibels and this thing is going into full afterburn — and you’re 10 feet from it, and it feels like it’s shaking the teeth out of your jaw,” recounts Skarin.
In due course of his service, he began experiencing high levels of anxiety, short-term memory loss, kidney damage, and incoherent speech.
Skarin was subsequently diagnosed with TBI and was advised to undergo an eight-week hyperbaric therapy program. After that, Skarin documented the entire treatment program on social media and displayed a 58% improvement in his condition post the eight-week hyperbaric session.
How Can Hyperbaric Therapy Help In Countering Tbi?
Physicians have adapted hyperbaric therapy or hyperbaric oxygen therapy since the 1960s’ to counter a wide range of ailments such as decompression sickness in naval divers, gas embolism, toxic poisoning, burn injuries, chronic wounds, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Over the years, clinical trials have revealed that hyperbaric therapy is a viable option to treat veterans with TBI related complications effectively. Oxygen is a known natural wound healer that has been used widely by medical experts since centuries and is a principal constituent in hyperbaric therapy.
During hyperbaric treatment, the patient is placed in a pressurised compartment known as a hyperbaric chamber. Thereon, the patient is administered pure oxygen at enhanced pressure levels varying between two to five times greater than average atmospheric pressure. This augmented pressure helps the pure oxygen dissolve into the body fluids. They are thereby delivering the oxygen to the damaged parts of the brain that are deprived of it due to restricted or limited blood flow in that area.
The Efficacy Of Hyperbaric Therapy For Treating TBI And PTSD:
There are several cases wherein TBI, and PTSD patients are known to have displayed significant signs of recovery after undergoing regular hyperbaric therapy.
One such case is a 29-year-old female gunshot victim, who developed acute spasticity, mild cognitive impairment, and functional quadriplegia. After undergoing a single session of hyperbaric therapy, her doctors observed a notable improvement in her motor skills, speech, and spasticity.
Similarly, there have been numerous cases of TBI patients, where they have made remarkable progress after undergoing hyperbaric therapy sessions. Time is the essence when it comes to recovery from traumatic brain injury. Delay in adopting treatment can cause rapid deterioration of the brain tissues. It is thereby causing stress and disabilities that can hamper the basic lifestyle of patients in the long run.
Today, numerous hyperbaric centres are providing hyperbaric therapy across the nation. And some of these clinics are also known to offer special packages for veterans with TBI or PTSD in particular.
Currently, a significant effort is being exercised by distinguished war veterans to get legislative approvals to recognise hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a valid treatment option for TBI and PTSD patients.