Is ozone a good treatment for the low back?

Is ozone a good treatment for the low back? 1024 535 Best Practice Health TV

Ozone promotes oxygenation and healing of damaged tissue. Some pain management doctors are now advertising that they perform ozone injections into painful discs. That may be what led one of our Best Practice Live subscribers to submit the questions above. I have to admit, since a herniated disc is damaged tissue with limited healing, the idea of injecting ozone into a herniated disc to help it heal is intuitively appealing.

Spoiler alert—the evidence doesn’t support it.

Before we get too far down this road, let’s focus on the most important thing… You! Read this table carefully and decide which column best describes your back pain.

Most of my pain is in the… middle of my back back but off to the side leg
My pain feels like a knife in the back It’s coming from my hip electricity
It’s made worse by… sitting twisting Any movement
I also have numbness or tingling In my outer thigh In my leg below the knee

Well, which column best describes your back pain?

The concept of ozone relieving pain by fighting inflammation makes sense only if you had radiculopathy (type C). But just because ozone could help with inflammation does not mean that it would. I searched the medical literature for trials and found no compelling evidence that led me to feel comfortable recommending ozone for the treatment of radiculopathy due to herniated disc.

I’m not alone. Here is a pyramid of acceptance which could be applied to any new procedure.

While there are pain management doctors who do offer intradiscal ozone injection, the procedure is not supported by the medical literature, not included in any professional society guidelines of which I am aware and is not approved by Medicare or reimbursed by commercial health insurance.

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