Advanced Decompression Sickness Care with HBOT

Combating Decompression Sickness With Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Decompression sickness (DCS), also known as “the bends,” can cast a dark shadow over even the most idyllic dives. It’s not a monster lurking in the depths, but a physiological consequence of ascending too quickly after breathing compressed air underwater.

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How Does HBOT Help With Decompression Sickness?

The Science Behind The Oxygen & Pressure

Decompression sickness (DCS) throws a painful wrench in post-dive bliss. Gaseous nitrogen bubbles wreak havoc on your tissues. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a great solution to treating decompression sickness. Here’s how it works:

1. Bubble Bashing: HBOT floods your blood with pure oxygen under increased pressure. This creates a powerful “oxygen gradient” that shrinks nitrogen bubbles, easing pain and pressure.

2. Cellular Healing: HBOT isn’t just a bubble shrinker; it’s a tissue repairer. It reduces inflammation, the internal fire damaging your tissues, and stimulates new blood vessel growth, delivering vital oxygen and nutrients for recovery.

3. Time is of the Essence: DCS is a ticking time bomb. HBOT’s effectiveness peaks within 24-48 hours of your dive, so prompt treatment is crucial for minimizing damage and speeding up recovery.

HBOT doesn’t fight alone. Doctors often combine it with fluids, pain management, and neurological assessments for a comprehensive attack on DCS.

How Does Decompression Sickness Happen?


Decompression sickness (DCS), also known as the bends, happens when divers ascend too quickly from a dive, causing dissolved nitrogen in their blood to form gas bubbles in their tissues. Here’s the science behind it:

Nitrogen Overload: As you descend underwater, the increased pressure forces your body to absorb more nitrogen from the compressed air you breathe. This dissolved nitrogen behaves like a passenger hitching a ride in your bloodstream.

Rapid Ascent: As you ascend, the pressure surrounding you decreases. Imagine popping a can of soda underwater; the bubbles that rapidly form represent the dissolved nitrogen attempting to escape your bloodstream as pressure drops. However, unlike the fizz in a beverage, these nitrogen bubbles can be problematic.

Bubble Trouble: In an ideal scenario, excess nitrogen is released gradually through your lungs during normal breathing. But if you ascend too quickly, this doesn’t happen fast enough. Nitrogen bubbles form in various tissues, including joints, muscles, and even the spinal cord.

Cellular Disruption: These bubbles aren’t just harmless air pockets. They act like tiny roadblocks, obstructing blood flow, irritating surrounding tissues, and triggering inflammatory responses. This cellular disruption is what manifests as the unpleasant symptoms of DCS.

The severity of DCS depends on various factors like the size and location of the bubbles, the depth and duration of the dive, and individual susceptibility.

Symptoms of Decompression Sickness

Joint and Muscle Pain: Deep, aching pain, often in elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips, is a common symptom.

Fatigue and Weakness: Feeling drained and sluggish after a dive can be an early warning sign.

Dizziness and Vertigo: The world might seem to spin, adding to the overall discomfort.

Neurological Issues: In severe cases, DCS can affect speech, vision, coordination, and even bladder control.

How Do You Get Diagnosed With
Decompression Sickness?

Medical History and Physical Examination:

Your doctor will gather details about your recent dive, including depth, duration, and ascent profile.

They’ll conduct a thorough physical examination, focusing on areas commonly affected by DCS, such as joints, muscles, and neurological function.

Imaging Tests:

X-rays may be used to rule out bone fractures or joint dislocations that could mimic DCS symptoms.

In severe cases, MRI scans might be ordered to assess potential spinal cord involvement.

Doppler Ultrasound:

This test analyzes blood flow in suspectedDCS-affected areas, indicating potential blockages due to gas bubbles.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Test:

While not strictly a diagnostic tool, this test can be used to observe bubble response to increased oxygen pressure, providing additional information about DCS presence and severity.

Blood Tests:

These may be ordered to check for inflammation markers, blood clotting problems, or other secondary complications.

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Conditions Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Supports

Find A Solution To Your Health Concerns

From chronic illnesses and autoimmune conditions, to sleep disorders and plastic surgery recovery, our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is designed to navigate a wide array of health challenges, guiding you towards optimal wellness through targeted, individualized strategies.

What Medical Conditions Are Covered By My Health Insurance?

Covered Conditions

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently recognizes Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for 14 medical conditions, all of which are generally covered.

Below, you will find links to resources pertaining to the FDA approved conditions and use cases for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. If you have any questions, schedule a consultation with our Hyperbaric Medical Doctor. 

Non-Covered Conditions

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) may also benefit many other conditions not yet approved by the FDA. 

Use of HBOT for over 60 medical conditions is approved by other countries around the world and supported by significant, long-standing research. Below is a list of non-covered conditions that have major researched benefits yet to be approved by insurance.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy FAQ

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

From chronic illnesses and autoimmune conditions, to sleep disorders and plastic surgery recovery, our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is designed to navigate a wide array of health challenges, guiding you towards optimal wellness through targeted, individualized strategies.

Generally, HBOT is considered safe when administered under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional in a reputable facility. However, it’s essential to understand both the potential benefits and risks before undergoing treatment.

Here’s a breakdown of safety considerations:

Minimal side effects: Most people experience only mild, temporary side effects like ear pressure, fatigue, and sinus discomfort. These usually resolve quickly on their own or with simple measures.

Non-invasive and painless: The treatment itself is comfortable and does not involve needles or surgery.

No drug interactions: HBOT doesn’t interact with medications unless specifically noted by your doctor.

The number of sessions required depends on the condition and individual response. Typically, a treatment plan involving multiple sessions over several weeks is needed. Speak to our Hyperbaric Medical Doctor to get guidance on if Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is right for you and your condition, and what you can expect in each of your sessions.

At our Hyperbaric Therapy Wellness Center in Hollywood! We provide expertly administered hyperbaric treatments overseen by Dr. Safa Maklad, a hyperbaric certified physician. We are committed to upholding stringent hyperbaric safety protocols and ensure the highest standards of care.

The office offers 100% cotton robes to wear during your treatment. During your consultation, we will thoroughly discuss the list of approved and restricted items for the chamber.

It’s best to have a light meal several hours beforehand to avoid nausea. Avoid heavy meals and alcohol within 24 hours of your session.

Staying hydrated beforehand can help your body absorb oxygen more efficiently. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise may also enhance treatment outcomes.

Some people experience increased energy and improved focus after a session. Others might feel tired or have slight muscle aches, which usually resolve within a day or two.

Treatment response varies depending on the condition being treated and individual factors. It’s crucial to follow our recommended treatment plan and discuss any noticeable changes or lack of progress after several sessions.

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