Anyone who has ever experienced arthritis in the hip knows just how painful it can be. That being the case, do you think that receiving a hip joint injection would be even more painful? Hip joint injections are one option for treating hip pain by reducing inflammation. Some people enjoy long-lasting relief after receiving them.
How much do you know about hip joint injections? If you have arthritic hips, it is definitely worth looking into this particular procedure. It may be useful in addition to your current main medications. You might also be able to avoid hip replacement surgery by availing yourself of this treatment. Just know that there are not any guarantees.
1. What is the goal of the injections?
Arthritis in the hip is generally osteoarthritis. It occurs because cartilage between the bones in the hip joint is wearing down. There is not enough cartilage to provide proper support and cushioning. As the bones grind against one another, they cause pain and inflammation.
The goal of hip joint injections, according to the pain doctors at Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX, is to alleviate pain by reducing swelling. In some cases, the steroids intended to reduce inflammation are combined with a local anesthetic to provide more immediate pain relief.
2. How long does pain relief last?
As with almost all medical procedures, patients react to hip joint injections differently. Some patients only enjoy pain relief for a few weeks. Others can go months without feeling significant pain again. It just depends on how each patient reacts to the medication.
3. How long does it take for relief to kick in?
The interesting thing about hip joint injections is that they do not offer immediate pain relief unless the doctor combines steroids with a local anesthetic. That is because it generally takes 2 to 3 days before the steroids reduce inflammation significantly.
Even when a local anesthetic is put into the mix, patients generally experience pain and soreness at the injection site for a day or two. So realistically, you are looking at 2 to 3 days before pain begins to subside. Some patients experience complete elimination of hip pain within 4 to 6 days.
4. How is the procedure performed?
As the name suggests, this is an injection therapy. The doctor starts by positioning the patient on the treatment table and then injecting a local anesthetic to numb the skin and the tissue directly underneath. Then, using fluoroscopy, the doctor guides a needle from the surface of the skin all the way to the affected joint. A contrast dye might be utilized to guide the needle more accurately.
With the needle in place, the doctor then injects the medication. The needle is removed, and the site is bandaged. Patients can generally return home or go back to work immediately thereafter. However, they are instructed to pay attention to signs of infection. The risk of infection is not high, but it is a risk that comes with all injections.
5. Is it a long-term solution?
Medical science debates whether hip joint injections are a long-term solution for osteoarthritis pain. If the procedure has to be repeated every 3 to 6 months, could it be continued for the rest of the patient’s life? No one really knows. On the other hand, what is considered the most plausible long-term solution – hip replacement surgery – is not guaranteed to completely alleviate pain, either.
Hip joint injections are one option available to doctors and their patients. Whether or not they are the best option is really a matter of personal preference.