Herniated disc sufferers at Vancouver General Hospital are being treated with ozone/oxygen treatment to reduce the size of their herniation (lower back) and ultimately reduce their pain and suffering.
The oxidating effect of the ozone/oxygen appears to shrink the disc and pulls the herniation away from the irritated nerve.
“There was a strong suggestion that patients got better more rapidly with the treatment. What we’re hoping to see here is that through the ozone process, healing will occur rapidly and patients won’t need other interventions like repeated steroid (cortisone) injections and surgery,” said Dr. Peter Munk, the lead radiologist in the study.
“The disc is like a fibrous doughnut and you get a herniation when an inner part of the disc bulges out through a weakened area,” Munk said, adding that the majority of herniations occur in the lower back, potentially leading to pain in the back and legs by pinching on spinal nerves.
The studies main objective (now recruiting 25 participants) is to determine the safety of the injection delivery system. CT imaging is used to precisely guide the needle (similar to what is used in complicated epidurals.
The whole process takes approximately 20 minutes and is an outpatient service.
The procedure should reduce the cost to the health care system compared to more traditional treatments (surgery etc) and reduce the level of complications patients have to endure.
Dr. Kieran Murphy (University Health Network) developed the treatment (AO-1000) which is owned by Active-O Inc.
The treatment is available in other countries however the new device is handheld and utilizes a syringe delivery system.
For the patient, it adds another layer of treatment before having to consider surgery which many people view as a last resort.