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By Randy Ice, P.T. and David Mitzner, D.O.
Ozone gas is an O2 molecule with an extra oxygen attached, making it O3.This extra oxygen molecule is what makes ozone “supercharged” and gives it all the remarkable medical properties. Oxygen is colorless and odorless, while ozone is blue colored (this is what makes the sky blue). The use of ozone to treat various medical conditions was first developed in the 1950′s in Germany and has been gradually spreading in American over the last 25 years.
Ozone therapy can be used to treat a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic hepatitis, herpes, chronic fatigue states, Lyme disease, macular degeneration, colitis, Chrohn’s disease as well as the subject of this discussion, chronic musculo-skeletal pain syndromes such as tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis and other chronic conditions.
Most people think of ozone as a pollutant in the air we breath that is toxic and a byproduct of our internal combustion automobile engines. When inhaled, ozone is irritating to the airways due to its oxidizing effects. However, when injected into the body, ozone is remarkably effective at stimulating healing processes and relieving chronic pain. Ozone is found naturally in the body. White blood cells make it as part of the immune response. Autotherapy, where one’s own blood is exposed to ozone then re-infused, is the method of administration for the degenerative diseases described above. Medical grade ozone when used for ozone therapy per established medical guidelines has a safety record second to none.
There are five properties that make ozone therapy useful for so many medical problems:
1.) Ozone is a potent regulator of the immune system. In the case of autoimmune disease where the immune system is overactive, ozone will calm it down. When the immune system is under active as in cancer and chronic infections, ozone will stimulate it. This is because ozone stimulates the cell membranes of white blood cells to make cytokines such as gamma interferon, interleukin-2 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
2.) Ozone therapy stimulates increased uptake of oxygen by stimulating an enzyme called DPG, which enables hemoglobin within red blood cells to release oxygen. Diabetics, for example, have less DPG which causes a relative cellular oxygen deprivation.
3.) Ozone therapy improves circulation by enhancing the way blood flows through small blood vessels, which enables the oxygen carrying hemoglobin to reach the capillaries where cells will receive more oxygen that they require.
4.) Ozone therapy increases antioxidant protection when administered via IV exposure the blood before being re-infused. Most people with chronic diseases have deficient antioxidant defenses.
5.) Ozone therapy is a powerful mitochondrial stimulant. Since the fundamental underlying cause of all degenerative diseases from diabetes to heart disease is decreased mitochondrial energy production, ozone can often correct this problem. It does this by accelerating the Kreb’s cycle we all learned in high school biology, which is how the body converts carbohydrates (glucose) into energy aerobically.
Ozone is created for medical purposes with an ozone generator that takes oxygen from a tank and exposes it to an electrical spark. This creates two singlet oxygen ions, which then attach themselves to two O2 molecules to create two O3 molecules. The ozone gas can then be drawn into a syringe to be used for injection into any part of the body that has chronic inflammation and pain. The needle used for this injection is 29G which is the same size as most insulin injections, hence there is very little pain felt due to its small size. A small amount of a numbing agent and Vitamin B12 precedes the actual administration of ozone gas into the soft tissue.
Ozone therapy injections can be used for chronic neck or low back pain, shoulder tendonitis/bursitis, tennis elbow, knee pain from patello-femoral pain or arthritis, jaw pain from TMJ, chronic trigger points in any muscle of the body and even in the hands or feet that have soft tissue pain syndromes. Virtually all musculo-skeletal aches or pains that have persisted for over two months will respond to ozone injections. Pain relief is usually complete within 30 – 60 minutes. It works by the mechanisms described above. That is increasing oxygen uptake in the local tissue and speeding up local metabolism, which accelerates repair processes. Unlike cortisone shots, which provide anti-inflammatory effects but weaken the injected tissue due to its catabolic effects, ozone stimulates repair processes that promotes healing of the injured tissue.
We have performed ozone therapy injections in our clinic for the last five years and have observed an 85% success rate in pain relief for most chronic pain syndromes. The length of relief varies from a month to six months or longer. We have found that some patients need a series of 2 – 4 injections spread out over a period of many months to achieve complete relief. This is because each O3 injection leads to longer pain relief as there are cumulative tissue repair effects. My own experience was for a chronic patello-femoral pain that would occur whenever I squatted down and during heavy leg presses in the gym. The first injection into my right knee gave me complete pain relief for 4 months. It returned but at 70% of the original pain intensity and a second injection gave complete relief for one year. It returned at 40 - 50% of the original pain and a third injection provided complete pain relief that has lasted for the last 2 1/2 years with no pain during all my heavy weight training sessions and daily activity. Many of our patients have experienced pain relief with just one injection that lasted indefinitely.
For more information about ozone therapy, contact Vintage Medical.