Millions of people suffer from joint pain in the U.S., whether that pain is from a traumatic injury or a joint-related disease. In fact, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show as many as 15 million American adults have joint pain due to arthritis alone. Research shows joint pain isn’t just about the physical symptoms. Many people with painful joints get less exercise and activity, which can wind up making their physical symptoms worse while also contributing to stress, anxiety, and even depression. As anxiety and depression increase, they can also exacerbate pain symptoms, creating a cycle that can be difficult to break without the right kind of intervention.
Physical therapy can be helpful in relieving some types of joint pain, but most people also rely on pain medication to control their symptoms and improve their mobility and activity levels. Regular doses of pain medication pose their own set of potential problems, including gastrointestinal distress, liver and kidney damage, and even long-term addiction.
The team of doctors at Health Solutions, in the Tinley Park, Rockford, Olympia Fields, Illinois, or the Munster, Indiana areas, helps patients control their chronic joint pain with joint injections that are specially formulated to promote natural healing, so symptoms are reduced while functionality and mobility are improved — and all without relying on high doses of prescription pain medication.
How joint injections work
Joint injections work in two ways: First, the substances they deliver can help cushion the joint and improve the joint’s fluid mechanics so movement is less painful. And second, the injections create a type of “controlled damage” that works with those substances to help spur natural healing in the area. At Health Solutions, the team uses both hyaluronic acid (HA) and steroid injections.
- Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in human tissues, including your joint tissues. HA helps your tissues retain moisture and it’s also attracted to moisture. As we get older, we tend to produce less hyaluronic acid, which means our joints don’t get the lubrication they need to function the way they’re supposed to. By administering HA joint injections, that natural joint fluid is augmented with a pure, synthetic version of HA that’s chemically identical to the HA produced by your body. Once injected, hyaluronic acid improves lubrication inside the joint and between the structures of the joint to reduce pain and improve mobility.
- Steroid injections use a combination of anesthetic medication, such as lidocaine or bupivacaine, to numb pain, and a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation in the joints to improve mobility and range of motion.
Finding relief for joint pain
After your injections, you might have some soreness in your joint as a result of the injections. That’s normal, and the discomfort will dissipate over the next day or so as the healing processes begin. For chronic joint pain problems like arthritis, pain relief can last from several weeks to several months, depending on the extent of the joint damage, your activity level, and other factors.
One of the good things about joint injections is that they can be repeated on a regular basis to help prolong your results so you can enjoy more mobility, less discomfort, and a better quality of life. Joint injections can also be used to speed healing after a traumatic injury like a sports injury. In that case, you may not need to have the injections repeated after healing occurs.
If you're having joint pain, whether it's from a chronic condition like arthritis or from a traumatic injury, joint injections may be what you need to finally find long-term symptom relief. To learn more about joint injections, make an appointment with the medical team at Health Solutions today.