A joint injection is an injection of a steroid or other medication into a joint to help reduce inflammation or swelling, which can in turn reduce the pain associated with that specific joint.
While our first course of action here at the Institute for Functional Health is to design a functional health and chiropractic treatment, we also believe that there is a time and place to consider joint injections for the temporary relief of pain at a specific site.
Traditional medicine's use of steroidal or anti-inflammatory injections have proven highly effective at treating acute pain that may be a result of traumatic injury such as an auto accident or sports injury.
As with any medication, there are side effects from the injections, most commonly temporary pain at the site of the injection. If the injection contains a steroid, there are also complications that can arise with introducing a steroid into your body, such as weight gain, increase in blood sugar levels, water retention, and suppression of your body's own production of cortizone.
In keeping with our speciality of functional medicine, we instead utilize lidocaine as an alternative medication to steroids. This is a more effective alternative because lidocaine does not effect blood sugar levels, or suppress liver or kidney function. Under the supervision of Dr. Khym Zarzuela, D.O., our team is very experienced with incorporating these injections into a targeting treatment plan to permanently relieve the pain. The combination of these minimally invasive therapies and natural therapy ensures safe and effective treatment without a reliance on an endless cycle of pain medications.
This type of pain management therapy is covered by many health insurance providers. When you call the office to schedule your appointment, we can check on your insurance coverage as well. Schedule your initial consultation today so we can help you to determine if joint injections are an appropriate treatment for your current situation.
The injection typically takes less than 15 minutes.
The procedure involves inserting a needle through skin and deeper tissues. So, there is some pain involved. However, we sometimes numb the skin and deeper tissues with a local anesthetic using a very thin needle before inserting the needle into the joint.
Immediately after the injection, you may feel that your pain may be gone or quite less. This is due to the local anesthetic injected. This will last only for a few hours. Your pain will return and you may have a sore joint for a day or two. This is due to the mechanical process of needle insertion as well as initial irritation from the steroid itself. You should start noticing pain relief starting between the 3rd and 5th day.
The immediate effect is usually from the local anesthetic injected. This wears off in a few hours. The cortisone starts working in about 3 to 5 days and its effect can last for several days to a few months.
If the first injection does not relieve your symptoms in two to three weeks, you may be recommended to have one more injection. If you respond to the injections and still have residual pain, you may be recommended for further injections on an as needed basis, depending on the underlying condition of the joint.
If you are allergic to any of the medications to be injected, if you are on a blood thinning medication, if you have an active infection going on, or if you have poorly controlled diabetes or heart disease, you should not have a joint injection or at least consider postponing it if postponing would improve your overall medical condition.