In a study by Dr William Fife and Dr Caroline Fife MD, HBOT was given to 26 patients who had migraine headache Pain. Pressures between 1.3 and 2.4 atmospheres absolute were used. All but one patient obtained complete relief of Migraine symptoms within Minutes of Exposure, including two patients who had temporary paralysis on one side of the face before HBOT treatment.
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. 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.
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.