Joint injections are used to treat inflammation and pain associated with injury and degeneration. A joint is composed of tendons, ligaments, bones, and cartilage. The knee joint is most prone to injury, as it supports many types of movement, such as flexing, bending, and twisting. Injury to any joint can impair ability to perform daily activities.
How common is arthritis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 50% of adults age 65 years and older suffer from arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it causes degradation and inflammation of joint cartilage over time.
What joints are injected?
The Boulder pain management doctor can inject the knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and ankle joint. In addition, the sacroiliac joint along the very low back and the facet joints of the spine can be injected if necessary.
What are the common types of joint injections?
The pain management specialist in Greeley or Loveland may recommend one or more injections for your joint problem. The common types are:
- Corticosteroid joint injection – A steroidal agent is instilled into the joint space to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Hyaluronic acid injection – A natural lubricant is injected into the joint to replace lost synovial fluid.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection – To treat pain and structural damage associated with injuries, osteoarthritis, and bursitis, the doctor may inject the joint with PRP. The injection contains a high concentration of the patient’s own platelets, which help promote healing to the damaged/injured joint.
- Nerve blocks – For patients who have not responded to a knee replacement, the doctor may offer a saphenous nerve block. This interferes with pain signal transmission to the brain.
- Stem Cell Therapy – the Board Certified pain doctors at Colorado Clinic now offer stem cell injections for arthritis. This includes amniotic stem cell therapy, which has been shown to be immensely beneficial for relieving pain due to knee, hip, shoulder and ankle arthritis. The procedure is outpatient, safe and helps patients avoid the need for surgery.
How can I prepare for a joint injection?
The actual procedure only takes a few minutes to perform. Before having the procedure, discuss all your medications with the doctor. The Boulder pain management doctor will discuss the pros and cons of the joint injection and have you sign a consent form.
How is a joint injection performed?
A joint injection is a minimally-invasive procedure that is performed in the office setting (outpatient). The patient is positioned so the doctor can easily access the injection site. After the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic, the doctor inserts the procedure needle into the joint space. Depending on the site, x-ray guidance may be required. If excessive fluid is in the joint, this may be aspirated to release pressure within the joint. After fluid removal (if indicated), the doctor injects the medication into the joint. Once the needle is removed, a bandage is applied to the site.
What are the benefits of joint injections?
Patients with damage to a joint often do not respond to conventional therapies, such as medications, physical therapy, and rest. A joint injection is useful for removing extra fluid, decreasing inflammation, relieving pain, and promoting healing. Many patients who have joint injections report improved quality of life and enhanced mobility.
Do joint injections work?
The effectiveness of an injection depends on the severity of the joint damage. Pain relief may last for up to six months with these treatments. Hyaluronic acid injection has been found to have a 75% success rate. While research documenting the effects of PRP injections is limited, preliminary studies show that this procedure improves movement and relieves pain.
The Board Certified providers at Colorado Clinic offer all types of joint injections to help patients achieve relief and avoid the need for potentially risky surgery. There are pain clinic locations in Greeley, Loveland, Boulder, Buena Vista, Longmont and Fort Morgan. Call today!