Ozone is a safe, inexpensive, and effective clinical tool with a wide range of therapeutic applications. Pain management is an area where ozone excels, and many studies have been done to demonstrate its analgesic properties. Numerous clinical trials and research studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of ozone therapy. Ozone has been shown to be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, including pain, cardiovascular disease, mitochondrial dysfunction, infection, and non-healing skin lesions. Clinical practice has also shown benefit in neurological disorders, autoimmunity, fatigue, and others. The discussion of ozone in this article will be limited to the area of pain. For a comprehensive overview of ozone therapy, Principles and Applications of Ozone Therapy – A Practical Guide for Physicians, by Frank Shallenberger MD, is an excellent resource.
METHODS OF ADMINISTRATION
Ozone can be administered in numerous ways. For the purpose of treating acute and chronic pain, ozone is traditionally administered as an injection (often referred to as a “prolozone”). Patients suffering from chronic pain of a systemic origin (e.g., fibromyalgia, chronic Lyme/coinfections, CFIDS, environmental illness, etc.) may require similar injection therapies and/or intravenous (IV) administration of ozone.
- IV administration
- Limb bagging
- Rectal insufflations
- Bladder insufflations
- Vaginal insufflations
Intravenous administration of ozone is traditionally administered as major autohemotherapy (MAH). MAH involves removing 60 to 250 mL of venous blood into an IV bag, mixing it with ozone gas, and a small amount of heparin (to prevent clotting). It is then re-infused into the patient. Unlike local injections, MAH provides a system-wide exposure to the effects of ozone, hence its applicability to systemic diseases, as mentioned above. Ozone can also be administered to the whole body through IV ozonated-saturated saline, rectal insufflations of ozone gas, or cutaneous absorption via cupping or limb bagging.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS FROM THE LITERATURE
Ozone therapy has excellent versatility in treating musculoskeletal sources of acute and chronic pain. Many studies have been conducted on the use of ozone injections for back pain, especially that related to herniated discs. These studies have shown positive clinical outcomes with one trial demonstrating better efficiency than steroid. Analgesic effects of ozone have also been demonstrated in the treatment of sciatica, headache, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, sensitive-tooth pain, and radiotherapy-induced proctitis.
In clinical practice, ozone injections have a high frequency of success in treating joint pain. Knees, hips and shoulder joints are very responsive to treatment. Our patient’s with frozen shoulder often experience complete resolution in 1-3 treatments.
Dental pain also tends to respond well to treatment, whether it is post-root canal, trauma-induced, or idiopathic (unknown cause). Our physicians have observed trigger points and symptom-inducing scar tissue to regularly resolve more easily when ozone is added into the treatment protocol. Nasal inhalation of ozone gas that has been bubbled through olive oil frequently works very well for pain from acute or chronic sinusitis. Patients suffering from chronic infections such as Lyme often have faster symptom relief when using ozone injections in painful muscles or joints. Successful results from treatments may be due to a combination of the anti-inflammatory effects of ozone and its antimicrobial properties.
Another area where ozone shines is the use in cosmetics. We notice a decrease in the appearance of cellulite and acne scars. This is a newer area in ozone therapy. The doctors at Lake Oswego Health Center frequently lecture on ozone and platelet rich plasma (PRP) in cosmetics and overall regenerative medicine.
Ozone is known to be toxic to lung tissue when it is directly inhaled. Long-term exposure to inhaled ozone can contribute to the formation of asthma, COPD, allergies, and cardiovascular disease. For this reason, we do not offer direct ozone inhalation.
Ozone therapy is a highly versatile clinical tool. Ozone has a long clinical history and a wealth of positive effects reported in practice.
Ozone therapy in all its forms to be an invaluable addition to Lake Oswego Health Center’s practice. Even equipped with core naturopathic modalities, injection therapies (neural therapy, prolotherapy, neural prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma, IV therapies, and other integrative therapies. We have found ozone to be of inimitable value for many of our patients suffering from pain and chronic illness.
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