Joint injections can be used as a part of treatment for people with joint pain. It is commonly used in people suffering from arthritis. Joint injections are a minimally invasive procedure that can temporarily relieve pain caused by an inflamed joint. Joint injections can also be used to treat other inflammatory joint conditions which includes rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, tendonitis, bursitis and, osteoarthritis.
Reasons of using joint injections:
There are many possible reasons of using joint injections; two main reasons of using joint injections are listed below;
- It can help obtain a diagnosis by gathering joint fluid for analysis when the source of the problem is unclear. Joint fluid has been removed before the injection; this process is also called as joint aspiration and then this fluid can be examine by the physician or physician can send this for laboratory analysis which may include cell count, crystal analysis which is confirming the presence of gout or calcium pyrophosphate crystal disease and it can also use to culture the cell in order to determine if an injection is present inside the joint. In this way, physician can determine the exact cause or reason of pain.
- Joint injections can help control swelling and pain in the joint by delivering medications directly into the area.
Corticosteroids have been using for joint injections because of their ability of anti-inflammation. They slow down the accumulation of cells causing inflammation and pain within the joint space.
How to give a joint injection?
- Right before the injection, the skin at and around the injection site will be carefully cleaned, in order to remove bacteria from the skin.
- The patient remains awake during the whole procedure to provide feedback to the physician.
- A needle is inserted into the joint space.
- Empty syringe will be attached to the needle if the aim is to remove fluid.
- If the purpose of joint injection is to relief pain then a small syringe containing the steroid is attached with the needle and the steroid is slowly injected into the joint.
- Some discomfort occurs, but patients more commonly feel pressure than pain.
- Then a bandage is applied to the injection site.
After 48 hours of the injection, your pain and inflammation of the affected joint decreases and it can last up to several months.
Disadvantages of joint injections:
Possible risks associated with inserting a needle include;
- Allergic reactions
- Nerve damage but it’s rare
- Skin discoloration
Corticosteroids which are using in joint injections can cause side effects including;
- Water retention
- Weight gain which is temporary
- Mood swings
- And if you are a diabetic patient, then there is a risk of elevated blood sugar level
The effects of joint injections will usually disappear after 7 to 10 days.
Zaki Anwar MD is an Anesthesiologist and Interventional Pain Management Specialist. He has vast expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain, sciatica pain and various pain conditions.
For further queries call on 815.412.6166