​A study conducted at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center proved that Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder that is caused by abnormal activity of the nervous system and that this abnormality can be reversed by HBOT

About Fibromyalgia

​Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a persistent and debilitating disorder estimated to impair the quality of life of 2-4% of the population, with a 9:1 female to male incidence ratio. The defining symptoms of FMS include chronic widespread pain, intense pain in response to tactile pressure, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, nerve pain, muscle twitching, palpitations and diffused tenderness, along with fatigue, sleep disturbances and cognitive impairments. These impairments include problems with short and long term memory, impaired speed of information processing, reduced attention span and limited multi-tasking performance. The Syndrome has  a devastating effect on people’s lives, including limited ability to engage in everyday activities, limited ability to maintain outside work and difficulties to maintain normal relationships with family, friends and co-workers. These limitations can lead to anxiety and depression in many FMS patients.

Many physical and/or emotional stressors may trigger or aggravate symptoms. The three main causes that can trigger FMS are Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), infections involving the nervous system and severe emotional stress.

The Study

​The study that was conducted at the Hyperbaric Center at Assaf Harofe Medical Center was motivated by the idea that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can rectify the abnormal brain function underlying the symptoms of FMS patients. The sixty participants were patients between the ages of 21-67, diagnosed with FMS at least 2 years prior to the inclusion in the study. Study endpoints included assessments of tender point count, pain threshold and evaluations of the functional impairment and severity of symptoms, as well as quality of life. In addition, each patient underwent an assessment of brain activity by SPECT imaging. The study provided evidence that HBOT can improve the symptoms and quality of life of FMS patients. 70% of patients had such a dramatic improvement in their symptoms that they clinically no longer met the criteria of Fibromyalgia. Moreover, it shows that HBOT can induce a regeneration/rejuvenation of damaged brain tissue and significantly rectify abnormal brain activity in pain related areas of FMS patients. This means that the study proved that Fibromyalgia is a neurological disorder that is caused by abnormal activity of the nervous system and that this abnormality can be reversed by HBOT. In the study it was proved that the source of the Syndrome is abnormalities in the brain regions responsible for the chronic pain sensation and not as thought of before as damage in the bones or muscles.

It is important to point out that HBOT is not a pain killer treatment, but rather a treatment aimed to treat the underlying pathology linked to the disease. In accordance, many patients report a worsening of pain and symptoms at the beginning of the treatments (during the first month), before the pain subsides or disappears entirely.

The recommended treatment protocol for Fibromyalgia patients is 60 HBOT sessions, five days a week. Some of the patients have required additional session, at a maintenance rate, and that is always determined by the medical team and in accordance to the patients’ symptoms and cause for illness.

​Hyperbaric therapy offers hope for fibromyalgia sufferers - A proof-of-concept trial led by researchers at Rice University and institutes in Israel finds hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help patients with fibromyalgia. The late Eshel Ben-Jacob, an adjunct professor of biosciences at Rice and a senior investigator at Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, is quoted.

Read the full article:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome - Prospective Clinical Trial


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