Prolozone is a relatively new form of alternative treatment for damaged joints, ligaments, tendons and spinal discs. It is administered as an injection, delivering a mixture of oxygen and ozone to injured areas of the body.
Prolozone is different from prolotherapy; this latter form of treatment is generally limited to ligaments and involves the injection of a solution of simple sugar water combined with an anesthetic into damaged ligaments. The introduction of a foreign substance sparks the inflammatory response. The body sends inflammatory materials to the injected area, meaning that blood flow is increased.
Inflammation has a definite role in healing; increased blood flow delivers nutrients to injured areas that help repair them. But inflammation tends to limit oxygen supply to the area, particularly when chronic. Oxygen is crucial to the healing of bodily tissues. Prolozone injects oxygen and ozone, the most energetic form of oxygen, directly into injured tissues to facilitate repair.
Prolozone therapy generally involves fewer injections than prolotherapy and boasts of immediate pain relief. Its proponents claim that it has the capacity to permanently repair tissues and bring an end to chronic pain. One of the most significant claims made is that prolozone can repair cartilage in joints, something desperately needed and long-awaited in the field of arthritis treatment.
If effective, prolozone offers hope to people suffering from chronic conditions like back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and arthritis. But, like most alternative treatments, there is very little research available to back up its claims. There are a handful of studies that promote reasonable success with ozone treatment for people with disc degeneration and osteoarthritis. See http://www.edmontonprolotherapy.com/Research/ProlozoneResearch.aspx for a collection of studies.
Even customer reviews are hard to come by for prolozone, possibly because of its newness. One review can be found on a forum at http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=120062421&page=1; the reviewer chronicles her early use of prolozone therapy for severe knee arthritis.
Prolozone treatment is generally not covered by insurance. An average cost is not available at this time, but the above reviewer mentioned that her injections cost $125 each, and she was receiving between 1 and 7 shots every 1 to 2 weeks.
There are many reasons to be hesitant about pursuing a new therapy like prolozone. Lack of studies, reviews, long-term risk analysis and insurance coverage are all plenty to make any patient weary. However, for those facing surgeries with high price tags, recovery time and risk, prolozone may be an attractive albeit experimental alternative.
Prolozone is a treatment option to pay attention to over the next couple of years; if scientific evidence grows in support of it, it may become eligible for insurance coverage and revolutionize the treatment of chronic pain problems like arthritis and disc degeneration. With regenerative properties unlike steroid injections and a wide range of application unlike prolotherapy, prolozone could be the future of pain injections.
Before pursuing alternative or conventional treatments, do your research. Understanding the pros and cons of treatments will put you in a position to make the best choices.