Diseases and Conditions Treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

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Definition and Causes

Arthritis is a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. A chronic pain disorder afflicting some 19 million adult Americans, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US. The most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but arthritis comprises more than 100 other inflammatory diseases and conditions, including fibromyalgia, gout, and lupus.

The definitive causes of arthritis are unknown. In osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, the cartilage, surrounding tissue, and bone may be destroyed by physical wear, infection, or aging. In rheumatoid arthritis, a faulty immune response may cause inflammation that erodes the joint linings called synovial membranes. There is no cure for arthritis. Many people with arthritis successfully manage or improve their quality of life with physical therapy, exercise, weight control, and medications.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Approval Status

FDA Cleared: No Learn more about clearance
and approval status »
UHMS Approved: No

Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and other chronic pain disorders. Some physicians may prescribe HBOT off-label as an adjunct or alternative to drug treatments and other common arthritis therapies.

hyperbariclink commentary

HBOT may provide temporary symptom relief for some people with some forms of arthritis. Compared to other popular and effective treatment options, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may never be cost-effective or practical for the daily management of such a lifelong chronic disease. Still, if further research demonstrates the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a drug-free regimen might offer a welcome alternative for some physicians and patients to consider.

FDA cleared, widely reimbursed
Strong body of evidence
Repeatedly favorable results
Early or mixed results
Unfavorable or no evidence
Strong evidence against HBOT

Learn more about Evidence Index ratings, the research we use, and how we assign scores »

Patient Resources

HyperbaricLink recommends the following websites for anyone seeking authoritative information, patient advocacy, and community support for arthritis.

Arthritis Foundation

A national not-for-profit organization and the world’s largest private contributor to arthritis research since 1948, the Arthritis Foundation helps people take control of arthritis through public health education, public policy and legislation, and evidence-based programs.

Patients Like Me

An open web forum where patients can share and learn from real-world health outcomes data, PatientsLikeMe is a for-profit company that shares data with nonprofit research and pharmaceutical industry partners. Its fibromyalgia community numbers 14,000. Other arthritis-related communities are active and growing.


The arthritis entry in Wikipedia provides good basic information about the different types of arthritis.

Clinical Resources

Start with the following resources to explore current research activities and the peer-reviewed medical literature on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for arthritis.

National Institutes of Health

ClinicalTrials.gov keeps the official list of human clinical trials currently enrolling, in progress, and recently completed. One may reasonably question the size and legitimacy of any study not listed here.

Google Scholar

A specialized Google search engine, Google Scholar indexes scholarly articles, patents, and legal opinions and journals. Google Scholar may generate excessive search results, but entries provide easy access to full-text journal articles.


HBOEvidence uses computerized tools to appraise the key randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the hyperbaric medical literature. One may reasonably question the overall strength of HBOT evidence for any disease or condition not covered here.

US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health

PubMed keeps the official list of scientific papers published in reputable peer-reviewed medical journals. One may reasonably question the importance and legitimacy of any study not listed here.

Related Terms


News About Arthritis and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

More news from O2.0 – the HyperbaricLink blog

Complete arthritis news archive from O2.0 — the HyperbaricLink blog

Further Reading

HyperbaricLink offers a white paper on evidenced-based hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Evidence-Based Hyperbaric Medicine White Paper Thumbnail

Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arthritis. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
Page Data
Updated: 02 May 2015 12:00 AM
Created: 06 Nov 2009 12:00 AM
By: About the authors »