Definition and Causes

Migraine is a common neurologic syndrome characterized by severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and hypersensitivity to lights and sounds.

Other common symptoms include chills, sweating, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling, and difficulty speaking or concentrating. Some patients experience warning signs, such as visual disturbances or aura, a few minutes or a whole day before an attack, which may last 4 to 72 hours.

The precise causes and mechanisms of migraine are unknown. Attacks originate with chemical changes in the brain and nervous system and progress into painful restrictions in blood flow.

Certain tastes, odors, lights, noises, and physical or emotional stress may trigger migraine. During the first phase of a Migraine Headache blood flow may be reduced by an average of 36%. The specific symptoms that are experienced as a result of this reducuction -such as visions of flashing lights-depend on which area of the brain is affected.

Reduced blood flow results in a lack of oxygen in the tissues, along with changes in the brain's chemistry. This, in turn, causes the release of substances that greatly dilate the blood vessels. Local tissue injury and swelling occur as a result. It is at this time Migraine pain strikes the patient.

Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

In a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber the patient starts to breathe pure oxygen at between 1.3 and 1.75 atmospheres absolute. Occasionally, a pressure of 2 atmospheres absolute may be needed.

Although HBOT has not been proven effective in preventing or reducing the frequency of migraine attacks, increased amounts of oxygen in the blood raise oxygen levels in the brain tissues, even when constricted blood vessels reduce blood flow.

Many Migraine Patients who receive HBOT find that the interval between Migraine attacks is significantly increased.

Administered hyperbaric oxygen constricts the blood vessels while oxygenating the tissues. This can reduce the swelling by as much as 50%. This aborts the symptoms.

Relief of symptoms occurs as quickly as 10 minutes after the start of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Cluster headache

Definition and Causes

Cluster headaches, which occur in cyclical patterns or clusters, are one of the most painful types of headache. A cluster headache commonly awakens you in the middle of the night with intense pain in or around one eye on one side of your head.

Bouts of frequent attacks, known as cluster periods, can last from weeks to months, usually followed by remission periods when the headaches stop. During remission, no headaches occur for months and sometimes even years.

Fortunately, cluster headache is rare and not life-threatening. Treatments can make cluster headache attacks shorter and less severe. In addition, medications can reduce the number of cluster headaches.

Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen has not only a symptomatic effect on a single attack of cluster headache, but it also could prevent the occurrence of subsequent attacks.

After 10- 15 minutes of therapy, patients taking hyperbaric oxygen report good-to-excellent pain relief.


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