Injection Options for the Painful Joints with Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis on the knee or shoulder joints can be treated conservatively with changes in your lifestyle (such as avoiding repetitive stress to the joints or losing weight). It can benefit from physiotherapy exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joint or wearing of braces to support the joint better.
Injection into the joints which have osteoarthritis can help with the symptomatic relief of pain as well as help slowing down the degenerative wear & tear of the joint. The treatment also provides functional improvement in the joint movements.
These are the injection options for your painful joint with inflammation, trauma or wear & tear due to osteoarthritis. Do discuss with your doctor which is more suitable for your case.
1. Cortisone or steroid injection
Steroid injection works by reducing the inflammatory process in your joint and provides pain relief for between 2-3 months.
2. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injection
Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injection is suitable for the knee joint and works by restoring the knee synovial fluid properties to act as a lubricant and shock absorber. It may also help to reduce pain by coating the nerve endings within the joint. You may need regular HA injections between 3-6 monthly to maintain the beneficial effect
3. Plasma-Rich Platelet (PRP) injections
This injection uses your own blood which has been processed to obtain the plasma and platelet portion. The PRP portion has growth factors and proteins and works by promoting healing and reducing inflammation in your joint. You may need regular PRP injections between 3-6 monthly to maintain the beneficial effect
4. Stem Cell injections
Research has shown that stem cells have growth factors which may help in healing. The stem cells can be either sourced from your own body such as peripheral blood, bone marrow or fat (known as autologous stem cells) or cord blood stem cells (known as allogenic stem cells).
Injections are NOT a cure for osteoarthritis or the wear & tear damage of the joint. However, they are extremely useful for patients who
- have mild ot moderate symptoms
- want some immediate pain relief
- want to delay surgery
In the meantime, you are advised to avoid unnecessary stress on the joint such as jogging, running or lifting heavy weights or overuse of the joint. Ask your doctor to recommend you a physiotherapist to teach you strengthening exercises of the muscles around the joint to help relieve the pressure on the joint and to slow down further deterioration of the wear and tear.
Such exercises should have as little resistance or impact as possible. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist to advise you on your own schedule. These exercises include
- Quadriceps exercises such as straight leg raising
- Hip extensions
- Wall squats
- Seated knee extensions
- Heel raises
- Gentle cycling motion on an exercise bike with minimum resistance
- Brisk walking on flat ground
- Gentle Tai Chi exercises
Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such.
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