Reducing Joint Pain With Injections
Joint pain is increasingly common. In fact, over 30 million Americans suffer from chronic joint pain. Joint injections can be an effective option for long-term pain relief. But how long do the effects of a joint injection last? And what can a person expect when getting a joint injection?
Why might I want a joint injection?
For many people, joint injections are an excellent option for reducing pain and inflammation. Joint injections can be effective as a stand-alone treatment. Injections can also be combined with a physical therapy or exercise program to manage pain long-term.
Joint pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, such as arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, or plantar fasciitis. Joint pain can be the result of chronic inflammation, or it can be caused by an injury. Joint injections can be a good treatment option for:
• Shoulder pain
• Knee pain
• Hip pain
• Back pain
• Some problems of the foot and ankle
The simple procedure to reduce joint pain
Joint injections typically include a combination of a steroid and numbing agent. Prior to the shot, patients may be required to stop taking blood thinners for several days to reduce bleeding and bruising risks.
The joint injection itself is a simple procedure. Because of the local anesthetic the doctor uses, patients will likely only feel some pressure or minor discomfort. However, patients should not feel pain or major discomfort during the shot.
Is it normal for pain to get worse at first?
Following a joint injection, many people experience a flare in redness, pain, and inflammation for about 48 hours. Some patients get a feeling of warmth that expands across their chest or face immediately following the injection. There may also be some minor bruising, which will go away in a few days.
Patients are typically advised to protect the site of the joint injection for a few days. For example, if a patient received a joint injection at the knee, they should avoid running. If a patient had a joint injection at the shoulder, they should avoid lifting overhead. Additionally, patients should protect the injection site by avoiding bathtubs and hot tubs for at least 48 hours. Because of the temporary increase in swelling, some patients may find it beneficial to use ice packs to reduce pain. However, patients are not advised to use heating pads.
Is one injection enough?
For long-term pain relief, people will need to have joint injections at regular intervals. However, the effects of joint injections can last for up to 2-3 months. If the injection is done for osteoarthritis pain, the effects may last even longer.
As with most health conditions, practicing healthy lifestyle habits will help with managing ongoing pain. For optimal pain relief after a joint injection, follow a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.