Intra-articular injections are one of the most effective ways to minimize chronic pain fast, especially if you haven’t found relief from other treatments. As an expert rheumatologist and pain specialist, Eneida Agosto, MD, of Heights Rheumatology and Esthetics offers custom intra-articular injection treatments based on your needs. To see what Dr. Agosto can do for you, schedule an evaluation at her Jackson Heights or Washington Heights, New York clinic locations. Book either online or over the phone.
Intra-articular injections are treatments that are designed to reduce inflammation and temporarily improve joint anatomy and function quickly if done well. Not only can intra-articular injections help you heal if you have joint pain like with osteoarthritis, they’re also ideal for minimizing disability and postpone surgeries. PRP or plasma will even regenerate tissue. Some of the most common intra-articular injections are listed below.
The ends of your bones are covered in cartilage and other types of soft tissue that help prevent bones from rubbing against one another where they meet — in the joint. To further help with joint function, you have lubricating synovial fluid that helps bones glide against each other with ease.
The older you get, though, the more cartilage and lubricating fluid you lose. Plus, if you’ve had injuries or chronic diseases like osteoarthritis, you’re at further risk of joint damage.
The point of hyaluronic acid injections is to keep your joints lubricated. They replace the synovial fluid you’ve lost and can prevent further joint damage.
Cortisone injections are made of medications that help relieve discomfort. They contain corticosteroid medication, which decreases inflammation and swelling over time. Cortisone shots also have a local anesthetic, so you can get relief from pain rather quickly.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections involve extracting a small amount of your own blood and processing it so that specialized growth factor cells become separated. These healing growth factors get injected into your affected area to stimulate new tissue growth. Over time, your joint begins to heal and pain starts to decrease.
It depends on your pain level and which type of intra-articular injections Dr. Agosto recommends. Generally, it takes up to 2-3 weeks to start noticing an improvement. With each passing day, though, you should start feeling better — optimal results can take up to 4-6 weeks.
One of the greatest benefits of cortisone injections is that because they contain a local anesthetic, you can get relief from pain within a few days, while the corticosteroid medication continues to improve inflammation over the following weeks.
During your initial evaluation, Dr. Agosto lets you know how many intra-articular injections you may need to get pain relief. With hyaluronic acid, for example, you might need an injection once a week for 3-5 weeks.
With cortisone injections, you’re typically limited to getting 3-4 injections annually, with at least six weeks between injections. If Dr. Agosto recommends PRP injections, you may need up to three sessions — each 2-3 weeks apart — in a six-month period. Ultimately, it just depends on how you respond to the injection and your pain level.
To find out if you’re a candidate for intra-articular injections, book an evaluation at Heights Rheumatology and Esthetics. Click on the online scheduler or call the clinic nearest you to schedule an appointment.