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Joint Injections in New Jersey

pain management doctor applying injection to patient's knee

Joints in the body are essential for comfortable movement throughout everyday life. They play a critical role in sports too. Cartilage within these joints provides cushioning between the bones which are connected via ligaments. Many disorders, however, can destroy cartilage and ligaments, causing bone joints to grind against each other. This leads to inflammation and painful symptoms within the joints. A form of treatment provided by a pain management doctor or an orthopedic surgeon is to inject the joint with a steroid medication which will reduce the inflammation thus relieving the pain. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics offers joint injections to patients in New Jersey experiencing a variety of conditions.

About Joint Injections

Joint injections are performed by a pain management specialist to decrease pain. A joint injection can also help post pone surgery until the pathology becomes more severe. A steroid injection can be done in the office setting. It is an easy, fast procedure that is considered non-invasive procedure. Although a joint injection cannot cure the below conditions, it can alleviate the discomfort from:

  • Tendonitis
  • Joint stress
  • Joint injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Sacroiliitis (SI joint pain)
  • Facet joint disease
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Chronic gout
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Joint injections can also be utilized to diagnose joint disorders or to rule them out. For example, if the procedure relieves symptoms in a specified joint, the condition likely originates from that joint. If it does not eliminate the symptoms, however, the patient may have another diagnosis that is already under consideration and the result of the joint injection is the determining measure.

The Examination and During the Joint Injection Procedure

When patients arrive at their initial appointment, the CNSO doctor will first listen to the medical history and the symptoms the patient has been experiencing. The doctor will then perform a physical evaluation of the affected area and review any previous images or studies.

If the pain management doctor, neurosurgeon, or orthopedic doctor recommends a joint injection for a patient, the patients would be educated about the procedure and provided instructions prior to ensure the procedure runs smoothly. Patients should inform their doctors if they are allergic to any substances or medications to avoid any allergic reactions. Most patients are not allergic to the steroids or local anesthetics which will be two of the medications used for the procedure.

On the day of the injection, if necessary, the CNSO doctor ask the patient to change into a gown prior to the procedure. To decrease the risk of infection, the surgeon would begin cleaning the injection area with an antiseptic. Local anesthetic is then used to numb the area. Depending on where the patient’s pain is located, the doctor will inject the appropriate amount of medication to the affected area. Quite commonly, office based joint injections will provide relief to the following joints:

  • Wrist
  • Knees
  • Hips
  • Shoulders
  • Elbows
  • Thumbs
  • Ankles
  • Sacroiliac joint

Doctors may use an ultrasound or a fluoroscopy machine for injections into areas like the hip or shoulder. This gives the doctor a detailed look at the injection site, especially for joints that are difficult to reach otherwise. Once the procedure is complete, the medications can alleviate pain, decrease inflammation, and eliminate swelling.

Risks of Joint Injections

While the risks associated with joint injections are typically very low, some patients may experience a variety of side effects such as:

  • Depigmentation
  • Fat atrophy
  • Tendon rupture
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Allergic reaction
  • Increased swelling and pain
  • Infection

Recovery and After-Care

Immediately following injection, the patient will be observed for 20 minutes. Thereafter, the patient can return home. The CNSO doctor may recommend icing the area and taking over-the-counter medications to improve the pain until the steroid takes effect. Depending on the severity and condition, time until relief differs for each patient.

Patients can typically complete everyday activities starting as soon as one day after the injection. However, others may not feel relief until the week following the procedure. To ensure safe healing, patients should not force activities that may still be uncomfortable to complete. But after some time, doctors may recommend gentle exercising and stretching to regain strength in the joint. Once doctors establish that a patient is symptom-free, they may prescribe additional rehabilitation services to maintain pain relief. By partaking in physical therapy, patients can work out the affected joints to avoid stiffness and gain strength to prevent the return of symptoms.

Long-Term Pain Relief Outlook

Depending on the patient’s medical condition and its severity, joint injections can alleviate painful symptoms for up to several months. Those with mild cases are more likely to achieve quick relief. However, this is not a permanent solution for those suffering from severe joint conditions. Patients can expect symptoms to return over a few months. In some cases, if the painful symptoms do return, doctors may recommend a repeat injection but depending on the joint, there is a limit to then number of injections that can be safely performed.

The road to achieving longstanding pain relief is different for each patient. Some individuals may not achieve enough pain relief after a single injection. In this case, doctors may need to utilize other treatment and pain management option until enough time has transpired before the patient has another injection. Often the second injection will completely eliminate the pain when the first injection only partially reduces it. If the cause of the joint pain can be eliminated with a surgical correction or a joint replacement, the patient will be informed of the options and directed to the best surgeon. Continual use of joint injection therapy can be detrimental to the joint because, if done too frequently, it can cause further joint deterioration. At the follow-up appointment, doctors can inform patients of their next step in the recovery process depending on how well the patient is recovering.

Receive a Diagnosis at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics

Throughout New Jersey, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics provides comprehensive and personalized care to each patient. The dedicated team at CNSO consists of leading board-certified, orthopedic surgeons, interventional pain management physicians, neurosurgeons physiatrists, exercise rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists. Because CNSO has an extensive team with the most advanced equipment available, patients can receive coordinated care with ease. With offices in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson Counties, patients can choose the location most convenient for them. To learn more about joint injection treatment, contact Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics today.

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In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

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