At times, chronic neck, back, or joint pain can be so severe that surgery seems to be the only option for relief. However, before proceeding with procedures like spinal fusion or joint replacement, it is crucial to consider the potential benefits of anti-inflammatory injections in relieving pain and symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory injections contain corticosteroids that mimic the natural hormone cortisol to reduce inflammation and pain. They are non-invasive and relatively safe, making them viable for relieving inflammation around nerves, tendons, muscles, joints, or other body areas. NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you evaluate your medical records and determine if anti-inflammatory injections are best for you and your symptoms.
What Are Anti-Inflammatory Injections?
Anti-inflammatory injections are glucocorticoid medications administered directly into the body to control swelling, inflammation and alleviate pain. The injection usually contains a corticosteroid, such as hydrocortisone, along with other anti-inflammatory agents, such as lidocaine and phenol.
The type of injection used depends on the area being treated and the severity of your pain. Your doctor will determine if an anti-inflammatory injection is right for you and which specific type would provide the most relief.
Areas Commonly Treated With Injections
Anti-inflammatory injections are commonly used to treat conditions that cause chronic neck, back, and joint pain. They can also effectively treat other areas of the body where inflammation is present such as ligaments, tendons, and bursae.
Injections to the neck or lower back are known as epidural injections. They can be used to treat conditions such as:
- Spinal stenosis
- Nerve root irritation
- Herniated discs
- Facet joint pain
- Degenerative disc disease
Joint injections can be used to treat inflamed joints caused by arthritis in areas such as the knee, hip, or shoulder.
Types of Anti-Inflammatory Injections
While there are several types of anti-inflammatory injections, they can generally be split into two main types. These will be explored below.
Intra-Articular Anti-Inflammatory Injections
These are a treatment option that involves injecting medication directly into a joint. These injections are commonly used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with various joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout.
A healthcare professional carefully inserts a needle into the targeted joint space during the procedure, delivering the medication directly to the affected area. The medication can include corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Intra-articular injections provide localized treatment, allowing for targeted and effective pain relief. They can help improve joint function and reduce swelling, stiffness, and discomfort. However, it’s important to note that the frequency and effectiveness of these injections may vary depending on the specific condition and individual response.
Systemic Anti-inflammatory Injections
Systemic anti-inflammatory injections are medications given intravenously or intramuscularly. These medications are commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis. They may also be recommended for treating musculoskeletal pain associated with injuries or as a preoperative measure for specific surgical procedures.
Systemic anti-inflammatory injections can be used to provide broader relief from inflammatory conditions and may also provide some pain relief as well. They can help reduce inflammation and improve joint function in the short term. However, they are not intended to be taken long-term due to the potential side effects of prolonged use.
Potential Side Effects of Anti-Inflammatory Injections
Like any type of medication that enters the body, anti-inflammatory injections may carry a risk of side effects or complications. Side effects can vary depending on the type and dosage of medication used, but some of the most common side effects include:
- Pain, tenderness, or swelling at the injection site
- Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
- Bacterial infections
- Local bleeding or bruising
Long-term complications or side effects can occur if anti-inflammatory injections are used too frequently. These may include:
- Weight gain
- Cataract formation
- Osteoporosis (loss of bone density)
- Elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels
- Easy bruising or skin thinning
- Acne or other skin issues
Telling your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, and other medications you are taking can help them determine the best plan of action for reducing potential side effects.
Begin Your Pain Assessment With NJ Spine & Orthopedic
You don’t have to suffer in silence with chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis or muscular injuries. Anti-inflammatory injections can provide a safe and effective way to reduce pain, inflammation, and improve joint function. However, it is crucial to understand these injections’ potential risks and side effects before taking any medications.
Speak to a certified doctor at NJ Spine & Orthopedic to assess your condition and determine if anti-inflammatory injections are the right treatment option. Our team of experienced specialists is dedicated to helping you find the best path for recovery and getting you back to physical activity in no time. Our Concierge Team can also coordinate everything and make travel easier for you. Contact us at (866) 553-0612 or schedule an appointment with us today to start your pain assessment.