You might not like the idea of a needle going into your knee or shoulder joint, but when you have reached the point where you are ready to try anything to relieve pain and restore mobility, we invite you to come in and learn more about the injection-based therapies we offer in Portland. And if you are hoping to avoid reaching a breaking point, we also invite you to find out if joint injections are right for you.
How Do Injections Relieve Joint Pain?
Most chronic joint pain—whether in the knee, shoulders, elbows, or hips—is caused by either inflammation or tissue damage. Injection-based therapies can address both of these problems by delivering therapeutics directly to the affected tissue. The exact type of therapy used will depend on the cause of the swelling or the type of damage, but there are several options available to reduce inflammation, block nerve signals, promote healing, and regenerate tissue. Once your Northwest Extremity Specialist has identified the cause of your joint pain, we will tailor an injection therapy plan to your specific issues. Joint injection sessions typically happen in our office and take only a few minutes. With some types of therapy, you will begin to feel relief in a matter of hours, while other types may take several weeks before you feel the full benefits of the injections.
Types of Joint Injection Treatments
Joint pain is a common complaint among both very active people and folks who are more sedentary. The type of treatment that will relieve your pain and get you mobile again will depend on what's causing it. Your orthopedist will conduct a thorough exam, a range of tests, and possibly order some images in order to diagnose your joint condition. From there, your options for injection therapy include:
- Corticosteroid shots. Injectable cortisone is used to reduce inflammation in affected joints. It is inserted directly into the knee, shoulder, hip, or wrist and works fairly quickly to reduce swelling and relieve pain. The beneficial effects of steroid injections can last for several months.
- Hyaluronic acid injections. Patients with osteoarthritis have a reduced supply of natural hyaluronic acid, which acts as a lubricant in joints. In this therapy, synthetic hyaluronic acid is inserted directly into the joint for lubrication to help it move more smoothly.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment. Using the patient's own blood, we create plasma with a high platelet count then insert it directly into damaged cartilage, tendons, or ligaments to promote healing. PRP therapy can speed up recovery times after a strained or torn tissue injury.
- Amniotic tissue injections. Like PRP therapy, this is also a form of regenerative medicine. Placental tissue that has been donated by mothers after childbirth is used to help the body repair itself. Nutrient-rich stem cells are injected into damaged joints and tissue to promote the healing process.
When more traditional treatments such as oral pain relievers, rest, and physical therapy are not working as well as you had hoped they would, injection therapy can be an effective way to delay a surgical procedure, such as a full or partial joint replacement. It is non-invasive and is often used in conjunction with other treatments and therapies.
Conditions That Might Benefit From Joint Injection Therapy
Not all joint pain is created equally—nor is it caused by the same problems. Getting the knees, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles to work smoothly without pain after an injury or chronic condition can take multiple approaches. Joint injection therapy might be helpful in treating the following:
- Traumatic injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Torn or worn cartilage
- Strained or torn ligaments
If you have persistent joint pain, you might be destined for surgery down the road, but injection therapy could be what allows you to enjoy your daughter's wedding or your once-in-a-lifetime trip in the meantime.
Which Type of Joint Injection Treatment Is Right for You?
If joint pain is keeping you on the couch, injection therapy might be what you need to ease your pain and speed up the healing process so that you can get back to work, play, or relaxation more quickly. It's not the answer for everyone, but it's worth finding out if it is the answer for you. Call us today at 503-245-2420 to make an appointment in the Portland-area office closest to you.