It is one of the most common rheumatic diseases. In Switzerland, it is estimated at 2 to 4% of the population with a strong female predominance.

Characteristics of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition of unknown origin that causes pain and stiffness throughout the body, trouble sleeping, fatigue, and depression. Patients are often anxious and report problems with concentration, memory and difficulty thinking. Sometimes there is bloating, abdominal pain and constipation.

Aim of treatment

Ideally, treatment should be prescribed by a therapeutic team led by a rheumatologist with the goal of improving pain and quality of life. Patients are prescribed painkillers, physiotherapy, yoga, exercise, psychotherapy, and strategies for self-management of stress and pain.

Clinical studies on HBOT

The first article reporting a positive effect of HBOT 2.4 ATA on fibromyalgia dates from 2004. HBO improved symptoms significantly compared to the control group.

2018 Efrati et al. were surprised that HBOT had awakened areas of the brain hiding early childhood trauma. As soon as these repressed memories reappeared, all symptoms of fibromyalgia disappeared. These results were confirmed in a group of fibromyalgia patients who suffered from sexual abuse in childhood. 60 sessions were needed to achieve this result. With 20 sessions only a partial improvement in symptoms was achieved. 2021 are Curtis et al. who observe a lasting improvement in symptoms with 40 HBO sessions. Finally, Efrati et al. extended their research to fibromyalgia patients after brain shock. They compared the effect of HBOT with drugs commonly prescribed in this situation, namely Pregabalin or Duloxetine. HBOT was more effective than drugs in controlling pain. Several post-treatment questionnaires showed an advantage of HBOT for the tendency to psychosomatic symptoms and greater emotional stability.

Practical use of HBOT

The most recent studies tend to show that 60 sessions bring the best results.

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