Numerous types of joint injections are offered at Integrated Pain Consultants to treat a number of injuries, but why and how do they work? One of the most common types of injections is a steroid injection. It’s minimally invasive and offers temporary pain relief for an inflamed joint. Joint pain might be caused by an injury, arthritis, or degeneration, and a joint injection serves two purposes. It’s a diagnostic test to gauge if the pain really is stemming from the joint being injected and it’s also a pain management treatment in itself.
Steroid injections use corticosteroid as well as a numbing agent like lidocaine. The injection is placed directly into the joint capsule to minimize inflammation and the symptoms that can come with a swollen joint. The actual relief time varies, but can last from days to years. It’s a great tool to help relieve pain so that patients can make the most of their physical therapy or other treatment plan that actually heals and strengthens the injured area.
Injections can be placed in many parts of the body including the facet joints in the spine, the hip joint, knee/ankle/foot, sacroiliac joint, the coccyx, and the shoulder/elbow/hand. The best candidate for a joint injection is someone who suffers from joint inflammation and hasn’t responded to non-invasive treatments like rest or physical therapy. Prior to the treatment, your pain management doctor will go over your medical history, any imaging you’ve had done, and the procedure. You might need to stop certain medications like blood thinners for many days before your joint injection.
A joint injection is an outpatient procedure and the treatment itself is very fast. Local anesthetic is applied to numb the injection area and a sedative like Valium might be prescribed to decrease any anxiety the procedure might cause. A fluoroscope is used in many cases to guide the needle to the injection site, and in some cases a contrast might be used to validate the correct position. The procedure isn’t painful, but some patients describe it as an uncomfortable pressure. If the joint is the pain source, most patients feel some relief 2 – 7 days after the treatment. To learn more about joint injections or to schedule your consultation, call Integrated Pain Consultants at (480) 626-2552.