Chronic pain is common in the United States. In fact, more than 51 million Americans suffer from it. And, about 17 million of these chronic pain sufferers have high-impact chronic pain, which is pain that limits life or work activities nearly every day.
Remarkably, this high incidence of chronic pain among American adults outpaces other common chronic conditions, such as diabetes, depression, and even high blood pressure.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you’re all too aware that finding relief can be challenging. However, joint injections can provide relief when it comes to some chronic pain conditions.
In this blog, the providers at Generations Family Practice in Cary, North Carolina, explain what joint injections are and how they can provide relief.
Joint injections explained
Whether you’re a professional athlete, the star of your pickleball team, or just an average person with chronic pain, there may be a joint injection that can give you relief. While each type of joint injection has its own unique medication, part of the mixture includes an anesthetic or numbing agent.
Before recommending a joint injection, your provider first performs a thorough evaluation and reviews your medical history. Then, if a joint injection is suitable for you, your provider explains what your options are.
If there’s fluid buildup in the affected joint, your provider may drain the fluid before giving you the injection. Finally, your provider gives you the injection and you’re free to go home shortly after.
Common joint injections
Here at Generations Family Practice, we offer a number of types of joint injections, including the following:
These injections are very common, and they’re given to reduce inflammation and joint pain.
Hyaluronic acid injections
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that’s produced by your body. You may be familiar with hyaluronic acid as a moisturizer for skin and hair. Similarly, hyaluronic acid injections enhance joint lubrication, thereby improving mobility and reducing pain.
Platelet-rich plasma injections
Platelet-rich plasma therapy taps into the body’s natural healing process. With this treatment, your provider makes a blood draw. Then, the blood is placed in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from the rest of the components in the blood. Then, the resulting serum is injected into the joint, where the platelets go to work helping to spur healing.
Versatile treatment for degenerative issues
Joint injections can be especially helpful for degenerative issues, such as arthritis, which is great news for the 54.4 million adults in America who suffer from this condition. Patients who suffer overuse injuries or trauma from accidents may also benefit from joint injections.
Osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes called degenerative joint disease or wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis. In fact, an estimated 528 million people worldwide suffer from osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis typically occurs in the hands, hips, and knees, and it’s characterized by the breakdown of the cartilage within a joint, which triggers changes in the underlying bone. Osteoarthritis can be debilitating and cause pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body, typically resulting in painful inflammation in many joints simultaneously. The joints in the hands, wrists, and knees are common RA sites.
The way RA plays out is that the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, which results in joint tissue damage. This tissue damage, in turn, causes chronic pain, deformity around the joints, and other issues.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. Gout typically affects the big toe and sometimes the ankle. The condition typically occurs in periodic bouts that happen suddenly and cause severe pain. Gout can last up to 10 days and is triggered by a buildup of uric acid in the blood. This buildup, in turn, leads to the creation of uric acid crystals, which accumulate in the joints and cause pain.
4. Tendonitis and bursitis
Joint injections can also relieve pain from overuse injuries, such as tendonitis and bursitis.
Tendons are thick tissues that connect muscle to bone. If a tendon gets overworked, it can get inflamed and cause pain, resulting in tendonitis. Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce friction between structures near joints. If they get overworked, they, too, can get inflamed and cause pain, resulting in bursitis.
To learn more about joint injections, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.