Types of Therapeutic Injections
Pain management is one of the most important parts of a patient’s treatment and recovery. In fact, if a patient is dealing with debilitating pain with little or no relief, the emotional toll that pain takes can hamper the patient’s physical recovery. To help manage pain, many doctors turn to therapeutic injections.
There are several types of therapeutic injections that can help provide relief for conditions such as a severe back injury, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other chronic conditions.
If a patient’s pain is due to a pinched nerve, a doctor could prescribe a nerve block for treatment. Nerve block injections go into or near the affected nerve. There is often a steroid, narcotic, or local anesthetic mixed in with the medication. This type of injection blocks the pain signal and can reduce inflammation around the area. There are several types of nerve block injections, include facet and peripheral nerve block treatments.
Facet Joint Block
If the facet joints of the spine become inflamed, a doctor can inject a facet joint blocker to relieve that inflammation and help soothe the bones which also may be irritated. The injection is made up of corticosteroids, and a doctor injects a local anesthetic directly into the affected facet joint or joints. If the inflammation is around the joint space close to the nerve feeding the facet joint, the doctor may use a medical block injection. These types of therapeutic injections are often used to alleviate pain in patients suffering from cartilage erosion and osteoarthritis.
Another treatment option for facet joint pain is radiofrequency nerve ablation. Since the facet joint has two nerves, two needles are used in this procedure. Once the needles are inserted into the joints, radio waves are sent through the needles. The radio waves produce enough heat to destroy the nerve, relieving the patient’s pain.
Peripheral Nerve Block
When a patient is suffering from paresthesia, the doctor may prescribe peripheral nerve block injections. The symptoms of this condition include pins and needles sensations, tingling, or numbness. Injecting the medication into the peripheral nerves can help alleviate the symptoms.
While epidural injections are most commonly associated with childbirth, they are also one of the types of therapeutic injections used for pain relief.
The fluid-filled space that surrounds the membrane covering the spinal cord and all of its nerve roots is called the epidural space. When a doctor injects corticosteroids into that space, it can help minimize inflammation around the spinal cord and nerves caused by conditions such as herniated discs and spinal stenosis. Epidural injections can be used in the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine areas, depending on where the damage causing the pain is located.
Trigger Point Injections
When a patient is suffering from back or neck pain caused by an injured or diseased disc, a doctor may prescribe trigger point injections. Patients who suffer from issues such as a pinched nerve will often move into odd positions because this can sometimes alleviate the pain the nerve is causing them. But doing so on a regular basis can cause the muscles around the nerve to become cramped and painful, creating even more pain for the patient to deal with. Trigger point injections contain an anesthetic which relaxes the muscles and eases the patient’s discomfort.
If you wish to learn more about how these types of treatments could potentially help your situation, reach out to a professional spine doctor today who can offer you more information.