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How does injection therapy work to treat pain?

woman holding her back in pain

When people start to experience chronic pain in their joints, especially their back, surgery is often the first thought with regards to treatment. However, in certain situations pain relief can be found in the form of injection therapy. 

woman holding her back in painTears, tendinitis, and herniated discs are all diagnoses that sound pretty intimidating, and as if they would require surgery. However, most cases of joint pain are treated non-surgically. This means a doctor can prescribe a combination of medicine, physical therapy and sometimes injection therapy in order to relieve pain and help treat the issue. 

Types of Injections

Recently, injection therapy has become more popular and successful alternative to surgery. There are currently 3 types of injections used:

Cortisone shots

Just as you may take ibuprofen for general aches and pains, a cortisone shot acts as a local anti-inflammatory for a painful body part. The key difference is that the cortisone shot, commonly injected directly into joints, begins acting at the area of the pain as opposed to slowly targeting it. Due to potential side effects, cortisone shots are often limited to a certain number per year. 

Epidural Steroid Injections

These injections have a corticosteroid, which suppress inflammation, as well as an anesthetic numbing agent. These injections target middle or low back, neck, and leg pain and are injected into the epidural space of the spine. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma injections

PRP injections utilize the natural ability for platelets to heal tissue. Rather than strictly anti-inflammatory pain management, this therapy helps to actually promote healing of the tendon, ligament, muscle, or joint. PRP injections will show gradual improvement in 2-6 weeks after starting the therapy, with most patients reporting ongoing improvement 6-9 months after the treatment. 

How Many Injections Will I Need?

The number of injections your doctor will recommend will depend on the severity of your injury and pain. In addition, the schedule for when you will receive your injections will depend on the type. 

To learn more about injection therapy, or to set up a consultation or appointment, contact Greater Rochester Orthopedics today.