Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)

Back musclesFibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder involving muscles, ligaments, and tendons – the soft fibrous tissues in the body.

The cause of FMS remains unknown, but there are many triggering events that may precipitate its onset. A few examples would be: an infection (viral or bacterial), a motor vehicle accident or the development of another disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or hypothyroidism. These triggering events probably don’t cause FMS, but rather, they may awaken an underlying physiological abnormality that is already present.

Fibromyalgi pain

Most people with FMS say that they “ache all over”. Most common symptoms are: pain, fatigue, sleep disorder, bowel problems (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), joint problems (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome: TMJ or TMD), premenstrual syndrome and painful periods, chest pain, chronic headaches and recurrent migraine headaches, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairment, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, muscle weakness, irritable bladder, the feeling of swelling in extremities, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, dizziness, and impaired coordination. People with FMS are often sensitive to odors, loud noises, bright lights, and sometimes even the medications that they are prescribed.

Most if not all of the fibromyalgia  symptoms are caused by oxygen deprivation on the cellular level. Dr. Majid Alia medical doctor and expert on fibromyalgia from New Jersey claims that “oxygen deprivation is caused by dysfunctional oxygen metabolism which results from cumulative oxidative stress caused by sugar overload, antibiotic abuse , undiagnosed allergies, synthetic chemicals, anger and many more. He calls his theory ODD standing for oxydative-dysoxygenative dysfunction which is anchored deep in the cell and failure of enzymes involved in oxygen metabolism.” His

FMS is not on the list of approved indications for HBOT use by UHMS Committee however the clinical studies worldwide report benefits of hyperbaric oxygen summarized below.  Except for the “mild hyperbaric” exposures where treatment pressure howers at low levels of 1.2 – 1.4 atm where the benefits are not seen, the increased partial oxygen in the tissue above 2 atm shows beneficial effects in increasing oxygenation of all tissues reducing hypoxia and oxygen debt.  Improved oxygen metabolism stimulates vascularization (collagen synthesis and fibroblast proliferation), causing better microcirculation and toxin elimination, balancing healthy oxygen metabolism, reducing inflammation and pain. Improved oxygen and glucose metabolism reflects also on reduced mental and physical stress.

Benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO) in fibromyalgia syndrome

  • Increased oxygen delivery to all body tissues correcting for hypoxia
  • Improved oxygen metabolism and washout of the metabolic products and other toxins
  • Suppressed inflammation and swelling
  • Relieved muscle spasm and pain (as well as referred pain)
  • Reduced neurological deficit (tingling, numbness and muscle weakness)
  • Improved heart function, digestive system and other autonomic nervous system functions
  • Improved blood and lymph circulation
  • Reduced muscle fatigue and improved exercise capacity
  • Increased flexibility and improved joint range of motion
  • Improved immune system response
  • Reduced mental and physical stress


Treatment protocol : HBO sessions are 2 hours long and administered daily. The number of HBO sessions is individualized to each client and determined by the response to hyperbaric oxygen tests. At BaroMedical, the screening of the clients and the progress of the therapy are monitored with most advanced equipment: Laser Doppler blood flow monitor and tissue oxygen monitor.

Related references:

  1. Yildiz S, Kiralp MZ, Akin A, Keskin I, Ay H, Dursun H, Cimsit M. A new treatment modality for fibromyalgia syndrome: hyperbaric oxygen therapy; J Int Med Res. 2004 May-Jun;32(3):263-7. Pdf file : HBO in Fibromyalgia – JIntMedRes 2004
  2. Yildiz S, Uzun G, Kiralp MZ.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy in chronic pain management. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2006 Apr;10(2):95-100.
  3. Kiralp MZ, Uzun G, Dinçer O, Sen A, Yildiz S, Tekin L, Dursun H. A novel treatment modality for myofascial pain syndrome: hyperbaric oxygen therapy. J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Jan;101(1):77-80.
  4. Nighoghossian N, Trouillas P, Adeleine P, Salord F: Hyperbaric oxygen in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke. A double- blind pilot study, Stroke, Aug; 26(8):1369-72, 1995.
  5. Kiralp MZ, Yildiz S, Vural D, Keskin I, Ay H, Dursun H. Effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome; J Int Med Res. 2004 May-Jun;32(3):258-62.

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