Education

Discussing Injection Therapy

What is Injection Therapy and the advantages?

There are clear advantages of local treatments like injection therapy over systemic treatment like oral pain medications in pain management. Injections are often the only way to find immediate relief from pain. A major consideration for using injection therapy can be fewer side effects, especially for those with serious health problems. Heart and kidney problems in particular raise the risk of systemic treatments and this is not a problem with injection therapy.

And injection and aspiration therapy can provide important diagnostic help. The fluid that is removed from a joint, tendon, or bursa can be evaluated in the lab to help determine the nature of the condition and help make a diagnosis of gout or infection.

What are the benefits of Injection Therapy?

Injection therapy is very versatile. It can help relieve pain in many different areas including joints and soft tissue even he tendons, bursa sacs, and muscles. The most common locations include the knee, shoulder, tendons, and hip bursa. While the thought of needles may cause some to be nervous, injection therapy should be done with minimal discomfort and is often painless.

Consider asking about injection therapy if a musculoskeletal pain has been present for several weeks and has not responded to rest, heat and oral treatment. And also consider removing joint fluid if there is considerable joint swelling. If injection therapy helps a chronic, painful condition, it can be repeated safely again in 3 months. Under special circumstance, injections may be repeated sooner than 3 months.

What medication is used in Injection Therapy?

The typical injection ingredient includes a derivative of Cortisone and commonly is either Depo-Medrol or Kenalog. These are mixed with a local anesthetic, often lidocaine. The cortisone medications need to be diluted by the anesthetic that also serves to reduce the pain after the injection.

For knee osteoarthritis, a lubricant can be injected instead of a cortisone product. This type of injection may work when cortisone fails and often lasts for more the 6 months. The products called Synvisc and Euflexxa require 3 weekly injections to achieve the maximal benefit.

How is Injection Therapy performed?

Believe it or not, injection therapy that is done properly does not hurt and gives a minimal sensation of burning or pressure. The ability to provide painless injections depends on the experience of the provider the accuracy of needle placement, the size of the needle, and the use of a cold spray or injection of lidocaine. Most reactions are due to the fear of the needle.

Ultrasounds can greatly enhance the accuracy of injections and therefore reduce pain from misguided needles. The ultrasound machine does not cause any discomfort or any sensation. Ultrasound is very useful in removing fluid from a knee and is essential in hip joint injections.

In conclusion

You should find relief in 12 to 72 hours after injection therapy. It is important to rest the injected area for 24 to 48 hours. It is okay to apply heat or cold, but do not massage the region for 48 hours. Remember that many people find injection therapy to be very helpful in getting pain relief with a lot fewer side effects.

Thank you for your interest in learning more about Injection Therapy. Our team of Mayo Clinic trained and Board Certified Rheumatologists at the Arthritis Center of Nebraska consider it our privilege to help people with arthritis and autoimmune diseases. We invite you to call 402-420-1212 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

by Dr. Alan Jacobs

Categorized in: Diagnosis / Treatments