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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Jul-Sep;26(3):467-74.

Treatment of radiculopathies: a study of efficacy and tollerability of paravertebral oxygen-ozone injections compared with pharmacological anti-inflammatory treatment.

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Department of Neurology, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Foggia, Italy.


The study was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of lumbar paravertebral injections of a gas mixture of Oxygen and Ozone in patients with lumbar radiculopathies caused by L4-L5 or L5-S1 disk herniations compared to a pharmacological therapy based on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Lumbar radiculopathy caused by disc herniation is widely spread. Many therapeutic options are available before steering patients to the surgery. Low back pain and sciatica represent some of the most frequent causes of antinflammatory-analgesic drugs overuse. Recent findings have shown that medical Ozone can be used in the treatment of radicular syndrome caused by herniated intervertebral discs. Although widely spread, there are insufficient published data supporting the effectiveness of this approach in clinical practice. We studied 38 affected patients with acute L5 or S1 radicolopathy. The patients were randomly divided in two groups: A) 20 patients treated with lumbar paravertebral injections of Oxygen and Ozone; B) 18 patients treated pharmacologically with antinflammatory-analgesic drugs. All patients underwent a clinical and neurological examination at baseline (T1) and after 1 (T2), 2 (T3), 4 weeks (T4) and after 3 (T5) and 6 months (T6). An MRI and EMG examination were performed at baseline and after 6 months. The intensity of pain and the outcome of treatments were evaluated in all patients with the Visual Analogue Scale and with the Oswestry Disability Index. We found a reduction of pain and discomfort soon after one week with oxygen-ozone injections compared with pharmacological treatment, but this difference of response became statistically significant after two weeks (50 percent vs 16.6 percent) and is confirmed after 3 and 6 months, when 80 percent of patients treated with injections turned out pain free compared with half of the patients treated pharmacologically. No statistical difference were found in MRI and EMG examinations. No adverse effects were found in any patient of group A. We hypothesize that oxygen-ozone injections in paravertebral regions can induce a direct reduction of root inflammation with a corresponding reduction of pain. The paravertebral injections of oxygen-ozone represent a rapidly effective therapy, easily practicable and secure, in patients with lumbar radicolopathies secondary to disc herniation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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