Corticosteroid Injections for Joint Pain and Back Pain
Steroid injections have two benefits over oral non-narcotic medications. First, steroid medications deliver medicines that inhibit the proliferation of both prostaglandins and leukotrienes - both are chemicals released by the cells to stimulate inflammation. NSAIDs and Cox-2 inhibitors, on the other hand, only inhibit the proliferation of prostaglandins. In inflammation is a process ultimately designed to promote the healing process, but also has the effect of producing pain and stiffness. Steroid injections benefit patients by directly delivering a much smaller dose of steroids directly to the structures involved in pain and inflammation. Because the steroid injections are delivered directly to the damaged joints, it requires a much smaller dose of medication. Because the injections bypass the requirement for consumption and absorption through the stomach and small intestines, they don't cause the same types of side effects, such as gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines), circulatory, and endocrine problems. Steroids, when delivered by injection, go into the joints spaces or epidural spaces, to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
Corticosteroid Injections for Joint Pain and back pain. Steroid injections, which involve the direct delivery to corticosteroids or glucocorticoids to painful joints or structures causing back pain, may be used when other pain treatments have failed. When a person first experiences back pain, they may try to tough it out by themselves, or they may take whatever pain medications are available at home or at the pharmacy over the counter. If the pain does not abate, patients will eventually make an appointment with the doctor to find out what is really wrong with them. Doctors will likely prescribe physical therapy with NSAIDs, and possibly narcotic pain medications for short-term use, for severe back pain or joint pain. If these none of these medications work and the patient has not responded to physical therapy as was hoped for, then the doctor may refer the patient to a pain clinic or day surgery suite, where steroid injections are administered.
Steroid injections reduce inflammation on tendons, ligaments, bursas, and in painful joints. Steroid injections may also be delivered into the epidural space of the spine, which blocks the transmissions of pain signals up the spine. This type of treatment is particularly effective in treating conditions such as bursitis, osteoarthritis, and pain involving nerve root compression in the spine.
The process of inflammation is usually a healthy one that involves the removal of damaged tissues and materials which could lead to an infection following an injury, and the proliferation of new healthy cells in tissues in the same area. When inflammation is not beneficial to the body is when it continues, because of a systemic injury or because of an arthritic condition which involves irreversible damage or cartilage loss. In these conditions, the long-term continuation of inflammation may cause the tendons, ligaments, and bone in certain areas to deteriorate, resulting in the loss of bone or soft tissue. In order to prevent this from happening, steroid injections may be done to prevent chronic pain and inflammation.
Treatment: Corticosteroids may be used as both a diagnostic and treatment tool for conditions such as back pain and joint pain. The reason steroid injections are a good diagnostic tool is because they involve the direct injection of medication into a very small area of the back, which inhibits pain in a very small area. This is important as a diagnostic tool because often doctors have questions about where the pain generator - the true source of the pain - actually is. Epidural steroid injections are the most common type of corticosteroid injections for back pain. This treatment involves the injection of the medication directly into the dura, or the layer around the nerve root that houses the cerebrospinal fluid, which protects and nourishes the nerve root.