As their name suggests, joint injections are a method of administering medication directly into the source of your pain. By giving treatment in this way, the medication can start to take effect much more quickly, meaning that you also reap the benefits faster. The medication that is injected is usually a combination of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent. The steroid helps to reduce swelling and inflammation, improving patient mobility. When inflammation is reduced, it improves your natural circulation, enabling oxygenated blood and nutrients to reach the damaged area to help it heal. Meanwhile, the anesthetic gets to work at reducing your pain and improving your day-to-day quality of life.
While joint injections are usually used as a form of treatment for joint pain, in some cases they are also used as a diagnostic tool to help determine if the discomfort you are experiencing actually stems from the joint itself.
Fortunately, joint injections are now widely available from a range of sources, including licensed chiropractors.
Joint injections are usually available for the following areas:
The facet joints of the spine
Sacroiliac joint and coccyx
Knee, ankle, and foot
Shoulder, elbow, and hand
Your chiropractor will be able to advise you if you are a suitable candidate for joint injections. This will require a physical assessment as well as obtaining information about your health and wellbeing.
Joint injections are a very versatile treatment that can be successfully used to reduce inflammation, stiffness, and joint pain experienced as a result of a variety of injuries and illnesses. These include but are not limited to:
Damage to the cartilage of the joint
Bleeding into the joint space
Arthritis, including rheumatoid and psoriatic
Unexplained joint pain
Again, your chiropractor will be able to advise you if you could benefit from joint injections.
If you are recommended to have joint injections, it’s unlikely that it will be a one-off treatment. Most patients are recommended to have a course of injections in order to achieve the optimal effect. Your chiropractor will create a schedule of appointments for you. Each time, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the treatment area so that any discomfort is minimal. You’ll remain awake while the injection is performed, and after, you’ll be able to leave immediately but you will need someone to drive you home. It’s normal to experience a little soreness around the injection site, and you can take over the counter pain medications to alleviate this.
If the joint is the source of the pain, most patients start to notice an improvement in their symptoms within 48 hours of their injection. Exactly how long the effects last can vary between patients, but some will experience relief for days while others will notice their pain is reduced for several months before further treatment is needed. Your chiropractor will probably ask you to keep a pain diary in order to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment.
If you would like more information about how joint injections can help reduce your joint pain and improve your quality of life, please contact our expert spinal care team