It is important to try other pain management options before taking a prescription opioid. Prescription opioids are known to be highly addictive, and other pain management options often offer the same sort of relief without the risks. We will be highlighting different options over the next few weeks, this week being therapeutic injections!
What are they?
- Therapeutic injections are a nonsurgical treatment option, most often used to relieve acute or chronic neck and back pain.
- Nerve blocks, facet joint block, peripheral nerve block, epidural injections, trigger point injections are some of the most common kinds
How do they work?
- These injections can deliver the medication directly to the pain location, using a steroid or other pain reliving medication.
- Or create a heat lesion on the pain transmitting nerve to prevent the nerve from sending any more pain signals to the brain.
- Nerve Blocks: Steroid, narcotic or local anesthetic mixed with medication to reduce inflammation around the affected nerve.
- Facet Joint Block: Made up of corticosteroids and a local anesthetic. When facet joints become inflamed, this relieves the inflammation and soothe the bones which might also be irritated. Most used for cartilage erosion and osteoarthritis.
- Peripheral Nerve Block: For patients with paresthesia, or numbness. These injections alleviate the symptoms of tingling, pins, and needles sensations.
- Epidural Injections: Help minimize inflammation around the spinal cord and nerves caused by herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Can be used for lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine area pain relief.
- Trigger Point Injections: Most common for back/neck pain caused by an injured or diseased disc. Muscles around the nerve become painful, this anesthetic relaxes the muscles and eases discomfort.
What happens after?
- Pain relief can occur within a few hours, or up to 2 weeks from the injection.
- Some physical activity restrictions may have to be put in place, but soon after regular activities may be resumed
- Best results when combined with physical therapy to strengthen surrounding muscles and restore mobility
Ask your doctor if this would be a great alternative for you. We will be highlighting other options in the weeks to come!