Therapeutic joint injections are a minimally invasive treatment option used to relieve pain caused by inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis and gout. Corticosteroids, used to reduce inflammation and minimize pain as a result, are injected into the affected joint. This medication only affects the targeted area and does not usually cause side effects. Joint injections are administered under local anesthesia and only cause mild, brief discomfort for patients.
Joint injections can be used to relieve pain in the:
Most patients can benefit from therapeutic joint injections and are good candidates for treatment, unless they have an infection in the joint or an allergy to one or more of the medications to be used.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections are a treatment option for pain in areas that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form when muscles do not relax. Trigger points may develop after injury or overuse of the affected muscle, or may be caused by stress and anxiety. These points can also irritate the nerves around them and therefore cause pain in other areas of the body. The chronic pain that is brought on by trigger points may result in a decreased range of motion in the affected muscle as well.
A needle containing a local anesthetic, and sometimes a steroid to reduce inflammation, is inserted into the trigger point to make it inactive and therefore alleviate the pain. The procedure typically takes between 15 and 20 minutes and is done in the doctor's office. Multiple sites can receive trigger point injections in one appointment, if necessary.
A facet injection is a minimally invasive treatment option for back pain caused by inflamed facet joints. Facet joint pain is often related to spinal stenosis, sciatica or arthritis and is characterized by neck, arm, low back or leg pain. Each vertebra has 4 facet joints that connect it to the vertebra above and below. The injection may also be used as a diagnostic test to determine if facet joint inflammation is the source of a patient's pain.
A facet injection is a combination of a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic that are injected either into the joint capsule or its surrounding tissue. The steroid reduces inflammation and can relieve pain for a few days to a few years. This procedure can be repeated up to 3 times a year for those who experienced successful but short-term pain relief.