Some of the joints in the body undergo constant pressure and usage on a daily basis, and over the years, this can lead to the development of chronic pain, inflammation, and tenderness in these areas. The most common joints that develop pain are the shoulder joints as well as the joints of the knee. Chronic pain is different than typical pain – it is the result of a deeper issue that painkillers and topical treatments will only mask. If you have had pain in your knees or shoulders for over 3 months, it is likely that you have developed a chronic pain condition in the joint. When this occurs your nerves are being overly stimulated from the grinding of the joint together. By using a limited steroid injection at critical sites in the joint, the muscles and cells in the joint can begin to naturally heal and rebuild the cushion that has been damaged over the years
Knee and shoulder pain complaints are the number one complaint at doctor’s offices. The joints have a wide range of motion and bear a lot of the weight for both walking and moving the outer limbs completely. Joints are held together by cartilage and muscle – the main type of tissue that provides fortitude for the movement of the bones it is connected to. In addition, a fluid called synovial fluid is responsible for helping keep joints lubricated and smoothly functioning. Over time, both the cartilage and synovial fluid can begin to decrease in volume and ability to function, making it harder for the joints to move smoothly and without causing any pain. When this happens, it is difficult for the body to rebuild and repair this damage without the help of steroid injections
Treatment for Knee and Shoulder Pain
When you experience pain in the critical knee and shoulder joint areas, it is a result of overstimulation and compression of the nerves. When there is less cartilage and fluid to provide padding and lubrication, the nerves in the area become inflamed and directly probed during movement – and this is what causes the pain experienced during movement, the triggered nerves. There are two main types of treatment for deep knee and shoulder pain:
Nerve blocks consist of a numbing agent that is placed directly into the affected area of the joint. These injections are intended to block the pain produced by the triggered nerves and reduce the amount of signal they produce as well as decrease the associated inflammation. There are both therapeutic and preemptive nerve blocks. Therapeutic nerve blocks are meant to soothe the pain you are experiencing and help to cope with the chronic pain, while preemptive nerve blocks can help to block pain from developing, if deemed appropriate by your doctor. This type of treatment does not solve the pain, but simply helps to decrease the amount of pain experienced by lessening the signal output from the stressed nerves.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections (TPI) are used to treat painful areas of muscle that contain trigger points, or knots of muscle that form and prevent muscles from relaxing. Many times, such knots can be felt under the skin. These trigger points irritate the nerves in and around them and cause pain throughout the body, especially in the joints. TPI’s include a local anesthetic as well as a small amount of corticosteroid that promote healing and stability throughout the affected joint where this knot is present. Once administered, the steroids help to relax nerves and promote the generation of new and healthy tissue to fortify the joint’s structure. If these injections are done in series under a guided plan with your doctor, there is a better chance of more permanent relief of symptoms than many other treatments that target chronic pain in joints.
Chronic joint pain can be difficult to manage, and it may seem like you are just masking the pain with most prescriptions your doctor provides you. With the use of nerve blocks and corticosteroid injections you can promote healing within the joint as well as limit the pain you experience throughout the healing process. These treatments result in cartilage generation and muscle healing by improving the thickness of cartilage, production of synovial fluid, and overall strength of the joint. These injections, in conjunction with a treatment plan with your physician, are safe and one of the only methods available that can help reverse chronic pain in the knee and shoulder joints, rather than simply numb the pain you are experiencing.