Whether you have just started experiencing joint pain or you have been dealing with joint pain for a while, chances are you want to know what your treatment options are. Although many people think of joint replacement surgery as the main treatment option for chronic joint pain, there are several non-surgical treatment options available. One of these non-surgical joint pain treatments are therapeutic injections.
Therapeutic injections are administered directly into the joint, where they are formulated to reduce inflammation and pain. Once injected into the joint, pain relief is almost immediate. In addition to providing immediate pain relief, therapeutic injections also function as a slow-release treatment that continues to provide pain relief for several weeks or months after the initial injection.
Because of their long-lasting effects, therapeutic injections are generally recommended for individuals suffering from chronic joint pain who have been unable to manage their pain with more conservative methods, such as physical therapy. However, physical therapy is often performed in addition to the injections to maintain or improve joint mobility and stability. While physical therapy alone may not be enough to manage pain and inflammation, the combination tends to yield better results.
Depending on your individual treatment plan, there are different types of therapeutic injections that your orthopaedic specialist may recommend. These include:
Corticosteroid injections are one of the most common types of therapeutic injections. These injections use an anesthetic numbing agent combined with a corticosteroid to relieve joint pain and inflammation. Common corticosteroids used include: triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone.
Epidural injections are performed to alleviate spinal pain, as well as pain in the legs or arms that results from an inflamed spinal nerve. Like corticosteroid injections, epidural injections use an anesthetic combined with a corticosteroid. What makes an epidural different from a traditional corticosteroid injection is that it is injected into the epidural space just outside the spinal cord.
Facet joint injections are another type of spinal injection used to relieve pain in the neck, middle back, or lower back. The facet joints are tiny joints near the back of the spine that connect each vertebrae. When these joints begin to degenerate or are injured, injections are used to alleviate spinal pain, as well as pain that radiates into the shoulders, buttocks, or upper legs.
Sacroiliac injections are similar to face joint injections, with the exception that they are injected into the sacroiliac joint, which connects the sacral region of the spine to the pelvis. These injections are used to relieve pain in the sacroiliac joint, as well as pain in the lower back, buttock, and leg. In most cases, pain is only reported on one side.
Visco supplementation injections inject hyaluronic acid into the joint in order to improve the viscosity of joint fluids, which improves joint mobilization. Oftentimes, visco supplementation is used for patients with osteoarthritis who are looking for an alternative to surgery. While joint replacement surgery still may be necessary at some point, visco supplementation has effectively helped some people manage their pain without joint replacement surgery.