Ozone is a gas comprised of three oxygen atoms. It is considered a powerful disinfectant used for many years in several fields and recently incorporated into medical treatments. The gas has a powerful antibacterial, fungicide, and analgesic effect, and this has brought about its use in medicine, especially in cases of chronic inflammatory processes.
In spinal pathologies such as discal hernia, facet syndrome, nonspecific lumbago, etc., its application may be intramuscular (paravertebral), intradiscal or foraminal (beside the nerve root).
Ozone and oxygen are infused at concentrations that vary depending on the process to be treated and the tolerance of the patient to the injection.
- Paravertebral administration: normally performed in the consulting rooms and requiring 4 to 6 sessions although this depends on the volume and concentration administered. Its action mechanism is due to stimulus of antioxidant enzymes which reduce the aggression to the nerve, as well as for its analgesic effect which reduces muscular contraction, one of the main components of lumbago.
- Intradiscal administration: this is performed in the operating theatre under sedation and assisted by radioscopy. Intradiscal injection accelerates the degradation of the polysaccharides in the nucleus pulposus bringing about a reduction of the volume of the hernia and improvement of the symptoms.
It is not always necessary to apply both techniques, the specialist will determine which techniques are most suitable as well as the volume, concentration and area for administration of the treatment.
The main factor determining success of the procedure will be correct screening of the patient candidate for the treatment. It is especially useful in patients with mild or moderate back pain, where there are significant radiological disorders and whose pain is caused by inflammatory changes on a vertebral level and the muscular contraction secondary to this process.
The success of the technique is reported to be about 80-85% of cases, provided there are good selection criteria. In cases where the procedure is not effective, the biomechanics of the spine are not altered in any way. Only favism and hyperthyroidism secondary to a functioning nodule are contraindications for practicing this procedure.