On occasions, certain sports or other musculoskeletal related injuries may not respond to conservative treatment (rest, ice, medicines, massage, physical therapy, etc.), or they may not be feasible for a number of reasons. In these cases, various types of injections can offer significant relief.
For severe joint or tendon pain or decreased motion in a joint, properly placed steroid injections (when indicated) can break this cycle and allow greater motion and strength that was previously inhibited- this can help facilitate physical therapy and/or home exercises.
In the case of severe muscle spasms, simple trigger point injections (typically using a local anesthetic and often a natural tissue relaxant called Sarapin, which is a derivative of the Pitcher Plant) may offer immediate relief from the debilitating pain and spasm. These injections are often very helpful in breaking the cycle of pain and spasm, helping to restore normal movement and function.
Viscosupplementation is another type of injection that is occasionally used in certain cases of degenerative joint disease (arthritis), when the joint or cartilage within a joint are worn down. These injections serve to “lubricate” the joint, helping it to move more freely. This is usually done in a series of 3-5 total weekly injections, and can offer relief for several months or longer.
PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injections, a relatively recent development in the sports medicine field, can help to treat chronic tissue injuries (tendon, muscle, cartilage, or ligament) by injecting a rich concentrate harvested from the patient’s own blood. This can be extremely helpful in stimulating the body to heal damaged tissue that has resisted other forms of treatment, often avoiding the need for surgery.
Prolotherapy is another exciting treatment used to increase stability in ligaments or tendons that are resistant to other treatments. By injecting an irritating substance into the chronically damaged tissue, the body’s natural healing cascade is stimulated, often helping to increase stability and strength in the tissues. This treatment is particularly useful in cases of ligament laxity/instability that is causing problems with sports or other daily activities.
The precision of these injections may often be aided by ultrasound guidance. This can add to the safety and efficacy of the injections.