How Peripheral Neuropathy Is Treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy experience various symptoms, often starting with numbness in the extremities and progressing to severe, potentially life-threatening symptoms. Treatments have historically included anti-seizure medications, antidepressants, and pain medications with a high probability of addiction, such as oxycodone. However, recent studies have shown that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may provide non-addictive relief for patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

To understand the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, we must first recognize what peripheral neuropathy is and how the disease affects its victims.

What Is Peripheral Neuropathy?

Peripheral neuropathy, also called neuropathic pain, manifests due to the inability of nerve cells to function correctly. As with all cells in the body, nerve cells require oxygenation to remain functional and active. If deprived of oxygen, the cells shrink and lose contact with each other, forcing the electrical communications between the cells to fail.

The loss of oxygen and correlating nerve cell shrinkage leads to various painful side effects, including:

  • Numbness or pain in hands and feet
  • Overly sensitive skin
  • The inability to feel pain or temperature changes
  • Cramping muscles
  • Difficulty walking or moving around
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • The inability to control their bladder or bowels
  • Weakness or loss of control of face or bodily muscles

Types of Peripheral Neuropathy

Nerve damage may occur due to illness, disease, or injury. Patients may present with any of the three types of peripheral neuropathy:

  • Mononeuropathy: This neuropathy only affects a single nerve.
  • Multiple mononeuropathies: Single nerves in multiple areas of the body suffer from neuropathy.
  • Polyneuropathy: The condition in which multiple nerves suffer from neuropathy. Patients often suffer from this type of neuropathy over others, with the affected nerves either ranging all over the body or appearing in a single joint area.

Treating peripheral neuropathy usually includes multiple methods to relieve pain and numbness. Most doctors focus on treating the underlying causes, hoping that they can lower or eliminate the effects of central nervous system damage with those treatments. However, some treatment types may worsen nerve damage, such as nerve-blocking medications, opioids, or surgeries.

Common culprits behind the development of peripheral neuropathy


Diabetes patients can have excessive blood sugar levels that damage the vessels supplying oxygenated blood to nerve cells. As these vessels become inert, pain or numbness develops.

Health Conditions

Poor health, such as excessive alcohol use, drug abuse, or unaddressed vitamin deficiencies, may lead to peripheral neuropathy.


Chemotherapy, long-term antibiotic use, or certain epilepsy medications could induce peripheral neuropathy.


A surprising amount of injuries can lead to peripheral neuropathy, including everything from a severe bruise to a gunshot. In addition, sports injuries that cause torn or overly-stretched muscles may also induce peripheral neuropathy.

Nerve Pressure

Often due to repetitive motions like typing, remaining in one position over a long period of time, or using crutches may put pressure on nerves and cause them to degenerate.

Autoimmune Diseases

Many autoimmune diseases can either attack nerves or cause inflammation that puts pressure on nerve endings, including Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, or other chronic inflammatory diseases.

As these medical conditions progress, the likelihood of peripheral neuropathy increases. Aging patients with these diseases make great candidates for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also called HBOT, consists of therapy sessions during which patients breathe in pure oxygen filters throughout their bodies and relieves various symptoms and injuries. The body requires a certain level of oxygen to increase its healing properties and relieve blood vessels from excess air bubbles (such as embolisms), and pure, pressurized oxygen meets that need.

What Happens During Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments?

Patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments may receive the treatment alone in a monoplace unit or utilize a multiperson hyperbaric oxygen room in which they breathe the oxygen through a mask placed over their face. Some patients receive treatment while in the hospital for other injuries or illnesses, but hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also occur as an outpatient treatment.

During the treatment, technicians raise the air pressure in the room to two or three times the normal air pressure. As a result, the air in the room consists of pure oxygen. As patients breathe it in, their body utilizes the extra oxygen to make attempts at healing slowly.

Specialists utilizing hyperbaric oxygen therapy for their patients have taken significant steps to create a relaxing, therapeutic environment. As a result, patients do not have to breathe any differently than usual to enjoy the effects of the treatment. They may engage in activities like reading, watching TV, or listening to music while undergoing HBOT. This restful environment makes it easier for the treatment to do its job and more effectively treat HBOT patients.

How Many Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments Does It Take for Results to Show?

The amount of necessary HBOT treatments depends on the patient’s disease or injury. For instance, diabetic patients with wounds that refuse to heal may need upwards of 50 treatments for results to show, while someone with bubbles in their blood vessels may only need three. Likewise, patients who suffer from recurring health problems might intermittently use hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments to maintain a healthier, more comfortable quality of life.

Does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Help Neuropathy?

Studies show that peripheral neuropathy symptoms diminish with hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments. Test subjects showed a marked reduction in nervous system damage and increased enjoyment in previously limited functions, including:

  • Stabilized blood sugar levels
  • Better organ function
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Higher energy levels

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy benefits patients with peripheral neuropathy by helping their bodies generate new blood capillaries. These new vessels stimulate nerves to repair themselves and even help new ones begin to form. As these new nerve fibers take shape, peripheral neuropathy dissipates.

The secret to keeping peripheral neuropathy at bay includes several methods performed in conjunction:

Continued Treatment of Underlying Conditions

While HBOT can help patients with the symptoms of conditions like diabetes or cancer, the therapy cannot replace regimens to treat or cure the problems causing peripheral neuropathy. Therefore, doctors utilizing hyperbaric oxygen therapy as part of their treatment plan should carefully monitor patient improvement or decline and adjust the HBOT treatments as necessary.

Lifestyle Changes and Improvements

Many patients take advantage of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments without making lifestyle changes that would eradicate their need for the treatments. HBOT may help patients with their neuropathy, but if they continue with dangerous lifestyle choices like excessive alcohol use or drug abuse, the therapy won’t make lasting improvements. Patients must continue to make positive lifestyle adjustments while undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy so the treatments can permanently improve their quality of life.

Additional Read: 5 Ways Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Change Your Life

Continued Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Treatments

While some illnesses, diseases, and injuries require a small number of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments, continued treatments may improve other areas of a patient’s life. For example, doctors may begin HBOT treatments to help a diabetic patient with an unhealing wound on their foot, but with continued treatment, they may start to regain feeling in that foot. These benefits may help patients’ overall quality of life by ensuring that the problem they experienced in the first place won’t occur a second time.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Peripheral Neuropathy Patients at NexGen Hyperbaric, LLC

Patients suffering from various medical conditions have benefitted from hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Not only does the treatment provide a massive boost of oxygen for the body, but it also helps treat nerve damage. Studies show that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can even regenerate new blood vessels that reconnect dead nerves, liberating patients from the numbness and pain caused by peripheral neuropathy.

If you have questions about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and would like professional guidance, call the team at NexGen Hyperbaric, LLC, at 888-567-4302. We can further explain the benefits and other factors to consider when using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for peripheral neuropathy.