More often than not, pain in the hip is the result of arthritis or overuse. However, there are some underlying conditions that can cause pain as well. The good news is that we have come a long way in treating this type of pain. One option is a hip joint injection.
A hip injection is based on the premise of alleviating pain by reducing inflammation and numbing the nerves. In this sense, hip injections are similar to therapeutic shoulder injections. Both utilize steroid medications to address inflammation.
Long-term pain relief can be achieved by managing inflammation through the use of steroids injected directly into the affected joint. As inflammation is kept in check, irritation of the joint and surrounding nerves is also minimized. The end result is long-term pain relief. In most cases, patients also enjoy increased mobility in the affected joint.
Doctors use fluoroscopy to ensure they choose the correct location. A fluoroscope is a type of x-ray that utilizes a contrast dye injected into tissue.
To begin with, the patient is made comfortable in a position that makes the affected hip easily accessible. The injection site is sterilized and numbed with a local anesthetic. The anesthetic also penetrates the tissue underneath.
Next, a contrast dye is injected into the site. The doctor uses the fluoroscope to guide placement of the needle. Once the correct location is found, a combination of steroid medication and anesthetic is injected. The goal is to get the medication directly into the joint, at the site of the inflammation.
Upon completion, the needle is removed and the injection site bandaged. Some patients require a bit of recovery time before going home. Others need very little. At any rate, the doctor is likely to advise avoiding strenuous activity within the first 24 hours.
Hip injections can generally be completed in 20 to 30 minutes. Immediate relief can be expected from the anesthetic. However, it can take 24 to 48 hours before the steroid medication significantly reduces inflammation. Patients can expect at least some pain to return as the anesthetic wears off.
In terms of long-term pain relief, some people feel better for several weeks following the procedure. Others report relief that lasts for months.
Note that doctors sometimes recommend this procedure to confirm that the patient’s hip is the source of reported pain. If immediate pain relief is realized from the anesthetic, the hip truly is the source of pain. If not, the patient’s pain is being caused by something else.
Complications from a hip joint injection are rare. There is always the risk of infection when needles are utilized, and some patients may experience subsequent bleeding. But again, these complications are not the norm. Side effects include minor pain and inflammation at the site of the injection.
Hip injections may be more appropriate than pain medication or hip surgery. If you would like to know more about whether or not it is right for you, we invite you to visit our Weatherford pain clinic. We can help you figure out the source of your pain and the most appropriate way to treat it.