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Ozone Therapy: New Breakthrough for Back Treatment
by Gaetano Morello, ND

Ozone, the gas that protects us from the sun's damaging rays but becomes toxic when inhaled, is experiencing a resurgence on the North American medical community. We are all familiar with the ozone layer and how it's thinning due to chloroflourocarbons. But the reality is that ozone production in the upper atmosphere depends on the amount energy coming from the sun. During peaks of solar activity, ozone is created at a greater rate. During low periods in the sunspot cycle, the ozone layer is thinner. At night, on the dark side of the planet, the ozone layer disappears over a period of a few hours.

The layer is reformed as the sun rises in the morning. There is no ozone over the poles in the winter, because there is no sunlight. Ozone is continuously being produced in the upper atmosphere as long as sunlight is present, and since ozone is heavier than air, it begins to fall towards the earth. As it falls, it combines with any pollutant it contacts, cleaning the air. When ozone contacts water vapor as it falls, it forms hydrogen peroxide, a component of rain water, and that is the reason why rainwater causes plants to grow better then irrigation. Ozone is also created by lightning; it is the ozone that gives air that fresh smell after a rainfall.

Therapeutic action of ozone
In medicine, ozone has a number of well-established properties: It is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. The largest commercial use of ozone is in the purification of water. When you buy your next gallon jug of water at the grocery store, the label will say "ozone treated." Both the FDA and EPA certify that ozone destroys 99.9992 percent of all pathogenic germs, while oxidizing (destroying) 99.9992 percent of all pollutants in the water at the same time.

A new discovery for the treatment of herniated disc: The Discosan method

In Germany, over 7,000 doctors utilize ozone in the treatment of various diseases. In Italy, orthopedic surgeons who used to perform surgery on herniated discs are now using a special mixture of ozone to treat the pathology of this condition. Dr. Cesare Verga (orthopedic surgeon) developed the system in 1984 and has treated over 6,000 patients. Dr. Verga claims that surgery really doesn't address the underlying cause. As a matter of fact, it offsets the biomechanics of the spine. Ozone, or the "Discosan method" (as it is known in Italy), represents a new approach in the treatment of herniated discs which resolves both the biological and biomedical aspect of the pathology. Dr. Verga states that this approach has a success rate of over 95 percent. Some of the principal characteristics that make this method so unique are the following:

1. No contraindications.
2. Over 95 percent success rate.
3. Virtually zero recovery time.
4. No side effects.
The treatment consists of injections of a special mixture of ozone and oxygen applied around the herniated zone. At the beginning, the therapy requires two treatments per week for a period of one to two months.

On average, a total of 14 treatments are required, depending on the patient. The Discosan method has even been shown efficacious in cases where surgery couldn't even alleviate the discomfort. An interesting analogy used in the Italian medical circles is that ozone will mean for herniated discs is what "ranitidine'meant for ulcers.
One of the main questions often asked about the Discosan method is: "How does this method work?" When we look at the anatomy of an intervertebral disc, we see an outer fibrous covering and an inner soft (pulposis) nucleus, much like a ripe cantaloupe with a hard outer shell and soft fruit inside. A herniation occurs when trauma ruptures a part of this outer fibrous covering, most commonly in the lumbosacral and cervical regions. This then causes the inner soft region to protrude and compress a nerve root, causing the pain associated with a herniated disc. The Discosan method addresses this pathology by three different modes of action:

1. The ozone-oxygen mixture has specific action on the protruding pulposus, by acting on a molecular level on the bonds holding this herniation together. This in turn causes a reduction in the herniation.
2. The method brings about a microvascularization to this area, therefore bringing more blood supply and oxygen to the region, all essential for healing. Dr. Verga also claims that ozone brings more fibroblasts to the area, which will help heal the pathology around the annulus fibrosus.
3. Reduces the edema in the area which can also contribute to the compression and inflammation.

The whole concept of treating a herniated disc without surgery is an exciting one. The fact that the Discosan method has some sound scientific principals gives real hope to people suffering from this debilitating condition.

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