Joint injections are one of the most common procedures at Integrated Pain Consultants, and even though they might seem straightforward there are still some foundational things you should know. For starters, not all joint injections are the same. They may use different drugs based on your type of pain, and the most common steroids used are hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, and methylprednisolone (they may also be called by their brand names). The most common local anesthetic combined with these injections is lidocaine.
Joint injections are a type of intra-articular injection. Other types of injections may target the muscles, the spine (epidural), or the blood. However, joint injections are the most common followed by epidural injections. It is not uncommon to notice joint discomfort immediately after an injection, but it is typically bearable and goes away within 48 hours. Ice and some over the counter medications is often all that’s necessary to help reduce this pain.
If you have physical therapy exercises, it’s still expected that you should continue after receiving joint injections. In fact, post-injection is when you might be able to push yourself harder (with your PT’s guidance). In most cases, there is a six-week waiting period between joint injections. No more than three injections in the same area are usually allowed within one year. Depending on the type of injection, you might experience pain relief the same day. This is especially true with short-acting soluble steroids. Longer-acting steroids can require up to two weeks to be effective.
How long relief lasts will depend in numerous factors, but most patients experience at least two months of relief. However, not everyone will experience relief from steroid injections. Sometimes a lifestyle change is also in order, such as stopping an activity that’s causing repetitive stress. Knowing if you’re a good candidate and realistic expectations are critical for any treatment, including joint injections. Schedule your detailed consultation or book your appointment online or by calling (480) 626-2552 to learn more.