Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment session like?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions last 60 minutes. Pressure inside the oxygen chamber is gradually increased while 100% pure oxygen is added to the atmosphere. During this time, the patient lies down comfortably while enjoying a television program or DVD on a mounted flat screen TV and breathes just like they normally would.  In fact, it is an incredibly relaxing time for most – some even use the time to take a nap! The pressure within the chamber is adjusted to fit each patient’s specific treatment needs. Treatments are controlled by a computer while simultaneously being monitored by our trained hyperbaric technicians.

How does it feel inside the chamber?

During the compression and decompression portions of the treatment, the patient will feel pressure in their ears – much like when changing altitudes. This can be equalized by either swallowing or yawning. Otherwise, it feels like sitting in a normal room.

How exactly does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?

The science behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy is fairly simple. Oxygen is absolutely necessary to a body’s healing process. Most of the time, injured parts only receive oxygen via red blood cells. During HBOT however, all body fluids carry oxygen – including plasma, lymph, interstitial, synovial and cerebrospinal fluid. These increased oxygen levels dramatically increase the body’s ability to build new tissue, create new blood vessels, and help grow new cells.

Rehabilitation time from injury is somewhat standard – the body can only heal so quickly. While things can be done to make it more comfortable, how long a patient has to wait depends on the severity of an injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy changes things, though, and the previous standard has been changed dramatically. Now, patients are able to achieve a higher level of healing in a much faster time.

As the scientific data continues to mount in favor of HBOT, we are entering a new era in therapeutic treatment. What the rest of the world has known for a while, the United States is beginning to catch up to. To ensure patient comfort and safety, we utilize state of the art, fully computerized, cutting edge hyperbaric technology and adhere to all international industry safety standards.

Are there any other health concerns or side effects involved with hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

People who have a history of pneumothorax – a condition commonly known as a “collapsed lung” – cannot receive HBOT treatment. Also, patients who are currently taking certain cancer medications, those who are suffering from severe cases of emphysema and those who are in the end stages of heart failure (with ejection fractions below 35%) are also not eligible for treatment. Patients with high fevers, active respiratory tract infections, sinus or Eustacian tube problems, seizure disorders and pregnant individuals may be eligible but will require special screening and individual consideration.  A detailed health history will be required for any individuals who are seeking treatment.

The highest care is taken to make sure patients are familiar with the techniques involved with HBOT and the importance of clearing their ears during the compression and recompression stages of treatment. During this time, there is the potential for barotrauma, or middle ear “squeeze.” Swallowing or yawning will equalize this ear pressure.

What can be brought into the chamber during treatment?

Making sure patients are safe is the absolute highest priority during HBOT. International safety guidelines are strictly adhered to. Our chambers, made in the United States, are state-of-the-art and FDA approved. They provide the most advanced technology and safety available in the hyperbaric industry today.  We will provide patients with 100% cotton scrubs that must be worn at all times during their hyperbaric oxygen treatment.  We will also provide water bottles for patient comfort.  To ensure safety, all other objects must be cleared by our trained personnel and must be in compliance with strict international safety guidelines. Before their first treatment, patients will receive safety education and will be monitored during the treatment process by trained staff. For patient safety, lockers are provided for clothing and valuable items.

How many treatments will be needed?

The number of treatments a patient will need can very depending on the condition that is being treated. Whether the condition is chronic or acute will also play a role in determining this number, as well as the individual patient’s needs as determined by their physician.  An individualized HBOT treatment plan will be created for each patient and discussed during the initial, complimentary consultation.

How do I get started?

Contact Integrated Pain Management of Alabama to schedule your complimentary consultation with our trained physicians. Other ongoing medical treatments and other therapies are carefully considered during evaluation and your HBOT progress reports can be communicated to your primary physician and therapists.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment sessions can also be started directly through a physician’s referral.

Click here to refer a patient to IPMA