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Steroid Injections – Purpose and Procedure

Steroid InjectionsSteroid injections (also called corticosteroid injections) are anti-inflammatory medicines that can temporarily relieve pain and swelling caused by an inflamed joint. Reliable healthcare centers at Brooklyn, NYC offer this treatment modality to relieve inflammation and pain caused by various conditions. Steroids are chemicals that occur naturally in the body. To relieve pain, steroids may be injected into major joints such as the knees, spine, wrists, ankles, hips and elbows and other minor joints of the hands and feet. They are usually combined with a local anesthetic to enhance pain relief.

Most people suffer joint pain at some point in their lives, and often, the exact cause behind this pain is not well understood. Steroid injections can be used as a diagnostic test to see or check if the pain actually originates from the joint. The injections are mainly used for the relief of joint pain due to arthritis, but may also be used to treat a wide variety of inflammatory diseases such as –

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Tennis elbow
  • Gout
  • Lupus

In addition, they may be used for reducing inflammation of soft tissues such as bursitis, tendinopathies, trigger points (localized points of pain in the tissue around a muscle), ganglion cysts, neuromas (small abnormal growths of nerve tissue, usually benign), Fasciitis and nerve compression. The main objective of the procedure is to reduce pain and increase movement and use of the affected area.

A steroid injection includes both a corticosteroid (such as triamcinolone, methylprednisolone, and dexamethasone) and an anesthetic numbing agent (like – lidocaine or bupivacaine). The injections are directly delivered to the painful joint in the following areas –

  • Facet joints of the spine
  • Sacroiliac joint and coccyx
  • Hip joint
  • Shoulder, elbow, and hand
  • Knee, ankle and foot

The injections can provide pain relief lasting for days to years.

Typically, a joint injection is recommended for patients who have pain stemming from joint inflammation and those who do not respond to other conservative treatments such as oral anti-inflammatory medication, rest, or physical therapy. These injections may be administered by physiatrists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, neurologists, and surgeons.

Before administering the injection, the physician will conduct a detailed review of the patient’s medical history and consider several factors such as age, level of physical activity and other medications taken. They will explain the potential benefits and the risks associated with steroid injections. Side effects that may occur include allergic reactions, infections, local bleeding and skin discoloration. Physicians may not administer the procedure if they notice any kind of infection in the area to be injected or elsewhere in the body. Typically, patients resume full activity the very next day. Soreness and pain around the injection site may be relieved using ice packs.

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