What is a joint injection? Joint injections were created to temporarily relieve joint pain. This is a minimally invasive procedure that helps alleviate joint pain that occurs due to inflammation of the muscles around your joints. The purpose of these injections is to directly deliver pain-relieving medication to the joint while simultaneously reducing inflammation. They are made of corticosteroids like methylprednisolone and dexamethasone in addition to an anesthetic numbing agent such as lidocaine. Ideally, the patient that receives this treatment has not had much luck with traditional remedies including physical therapy and oral medications. The following will discuss how the injections work and how they can help you, as well as what steps you should take once you have received them.
Are You A Candidate?
The two common reasons that people get joint injections are to relieve inflammation and pain associated with it and to pinpoint the source of the pain. Generally, there are other causes that worsen the pain in the joints as it does not always come about because of an underlying inflammatory disorder. This is where joint injections can benefit a patient suffering from joint pain as they not only treat the pain, they also diagnose it.
Patients struggling with inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, reactive arthritis, tendinitis, etc. are often candidates. Injections are usually done in the knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, wrists, and spine. Not only do they alleviate the pain, but they also help to increase the mobility of the joint. Once the joint functions better, you will then be able to start physical therapy which will help set you on the path to being free of joint pain.
Joint injections were designed to provide temporary relief while serving as an aid to primary treatments such as medications and exercise.
Prior to the procedure, patients are required to go to the doctor for a medical checkup. Your primary physician will ask if you are taking blood thinners, medications, or supplements. If so, your doctor will give you your next steps.
This procedure is performed using an ultrasound or x-ray fluoroscopy technology depending on the joint being treated. These help ensure that the procedure is done precisely. The area will be numbed, and you will feel slight pressure as the medication is injected into the joint.
You might notice some inflammation for up to 48 hours post-injection. If you have diabetes, your glucose levels could increase– both of which are completely normal and not of any concern. Once the medication takes effect, you should expect to be pain free for 2-3 months.
When the procedure is done, you should go home and rest. Avoid putting pressure on the injection site. Expect it to take about a week before the pain is gone. Stay patient, relief is coming soon.
After the pain is alleviated, your doctor might suggest that you start physical therapy to promote movement and flexibility in your joint. They might also give you some exercises to do at home to help with the healing process.
Dealing With Joint Pain? Joint Injections Are A Great Option!
If you are dealing with chronic joint pain and inflammation that is not improving with standard treatment options, joint injections are a great option to consider. As with other treatment options and injections, there are risks associated with joint injections. These include inflammation, bleeding, and infection at the injection site. Thankfully, these are typically avoidable with proper technique.
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About Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology
Tristate Arthritis and Rheumatology is the first and largest Rheumatology practice in the Northern Kentucky area. Founded by Dr. Arthur Kunath in 1986, our rheumatology practice now consists of six doctors who are board certified in both Internal Medicine and Rheumatology and a Physician Assistant. Patients see one doctor (except in emergencies), thereby assuring continuity of care and an individualized doctor-patient atmosphere giving the physician the ability to establish personalized and detailed relationships. Our doctors have received numerous awards, including being listed as “Top Doctors” in Cincinnati Magazine, receiving the Patient’s Choice Award, the Most Compassionate Doctor Award, and the American College of Rheumatology’s “My Doc Rocks” award.