Injection Therapy For Pain Management
For some patients with pain in their muscles, joints, neck, and back, physical therapy and oral medication may not provide complete improvement. However, surgery is not always recommended as a next step. The goal of pain management is to help patients avoid surgery unless it is necessary.
Depending on the cause and source of a patient’s pain, injections might be an effective treatment to help patients manage pain without surgery. Injections can provide longer-lasting relief from pain and inflammation than oral medications. This pain relief may allow patients to more actively participate in physical therapy and exercise, which can work hand-in-hand with pain relief to help patients better manage their conditions.
Dr. Dax Trujillo at Summit Healthcare Pain Clinic offers several different types of injections to help patients manage their pain so that they can participate in physical therapy and everyday activities with reduced pain. Although a consultation will be necessary to determine if joint or muscle injections are right for you, these are some of the injections that Dr. Trujillo offers.
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Cortisone Steroid Injections
Cortisone steroid injections are commonly used to treat joint pain caused by arthritis. These injections can help to decrease pain by reducing inflammation in the joint. Although corticosteroids can be taken orally, the right amount of medication may not reach the targeted area. By injecting the medication directly into the problem area, patients can get more targeted pain relief.
When administering a steroid injection, Dr. Trujillo may use imaging techniques such as ultrasound or an x-ray to ensure proper placement. The cortisone may be mixed with a local anesthetic to provide immediate pain relief.
Although steroid injections can be quite helpful in reducing joint pain, they will not reverse or stop the progression of joint damage. Although patients may need to cut back on activity for the first few days after the injection, patients will see the best results if they participate in physical therapy and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
If joint pain returns over time, patients can receive multiple steroid injections. However, injections should be spaced at least four to six weeks apart, and it is recommended that patients receive no more than four steroid injections within a year. More frequent injections could contribute to cartilage damage.
Epidural Steroid Injections
These injections are administered to the epidural space. The epidural space surrounds the dura, a membrane that covers the nerve roots in the spine. Nerves travel from the spine through the epidural space to the other parts of
the body. If a nerve becomes inflamed within the epidural space due to a condition like a herniated disc, bulging disc, or spinal stenosis, pain may travel to the arms, legs, and/or neck, depending on the location of the inflamed nerve. The cortisone steroids administered into the epidural space reduce inflammation, which may lead to an improvement in pain.
When Dr. Trujillo administers an epidural steroid injection, he uses x-ray guidance to ensure correct placement of the needle. Local anesthetic is typically given before the epidural injection to numb the area. A contrast dye may be injected prior to the steroid medication to ensure that the medication will reach the inflamed nerves.
Epidural steroid injections can reduce or relieve pain for several months. In some patients, pain relief lasts even longer.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger points are small, hypersensitive knots in the muscle tissue. They can cause pain in the area surrounding the knot, and can also refer pain to other parts of the body. Although trigger points are common in the back and shoulders, they can also occur in other muscles throughout the body. This is more common in patients with myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Trigger point injections can help to provide pain relief. To administer a trigger point injection, Dr. Trujillo locates the trigger point. A local anesthetic may be used to numb the area so that the trigger point injection is less painful. Dr. Trujillo then inserts a needle into the trigger point and injects the medication. The medication may be an anesthetic, a steroid, or a combination of the two.
In many cases, patients experience relief from a trigger point after one injection. Patients with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome may experience recurring trigger points. These cases may require regular or multiple injections.