Pain management and hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Author(s): Senol Yildiz, Gunalp Uzun and Mehmet Zeki Kiralp

Chronic pain is very common in the general population. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been studied in various chronic pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, myofascial pain syndrome, migraine and cluster headaches. Although the results of these studies are promising, routine management of these chronic pain syndromes with hyperbaric oxygen therapy cannot be justified at this time. However, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used in selected patients unresponsive to other treatments, where facilities are available, after carefully weighing potential benefits against the risks of treatment. Further large-scale, good-quality, randomized, controlled studies are required to clearly demonstrate efficiency, cost–effectiveness, optimal treatment protocol and safety of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the management of chronic pain.