Joints can be inflamed and become a major source of pain due to multiple causes. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
Osteoarthritis often gradually worsens, and no cure exists. But staying active, maintaining a healthy weight and other treatments may slow progression of the disease and help improve pain and joint function.
When joint pain does not resolve in a reasonable amount of time with OTC medication and/or conservative approaches, an injection of medication directly into the joint is a frequently performed procedure.
What kind of injections can Help the joints pain?
There are two kinds of injections that can help joints pain:
Cortisone shots. Injections of corticosteroid medications may relieve pain in your joint. During this procedure your doctor numbs the area around your joint, then places a needle into the space within your joint and injects medication. The number of cortisone shots you can receive each year is limited, because the medication can worsen joint damage over time.
Lubrication injections (Knee). Injections of hyaluronic acid may offer pain relief by providing some cushioning in your knee. Hyaluronic acid is similar to a component normally found in your joint fluid.
How Long does the Procedure Take?
Joint injections are safely performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically requires 20 minutes, including preparation time, and is followed by a short period of observed recovery time.
How Often Should this Procedure be Done?
Pain relief using joint injections is expected to last several months or longer. If needed, the injections may be repeated a few times during the year.
What are the Expected Results?
After the injection, you may experience immediate but temporary pain relief from the local anesthetic. Because steroids need several days to deliver noticeable benefits, there is a window of time when the pain returns or even worsens. If the pain worsens, it usually subsides within a day or two. Generally, it’s recommended that you take it easy the day of the procedure, but return to your usual activities the following day.
Although the injections do not change the underlying condition, they can break the cycle of pain and inflammation and allow time for exercise or physical therapy to strengthen muscles and get the joint moving again in order to decrease ongoing problems.
Conditions Treated by Joints Injections:
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- Hip Osteoarthritis