You suffer from a condition that causes chronic pain. Maybe you have osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis. Regardless of the cause, chronic pain is negatively impacting your quality of life. Your doctor is likely to prescribe pain medications unless you ask about alternatives. Among the alternatives are a number of injection therapies normally found at specialized pain medicine clinics.
Lone Star Pain Medicine is one such clinic in Weatherford, Texas. The chronic pain doctors at Lone Star are intimately familiar with chronic pain treatment procedures like facet joint injections and cervical epidural steroid injections. They offer a range of injection treatments capable of addressing arthritis pain, back pain, chronic headaches, and other conditions.
There are essentially three types of injection therapies:
1. Blocking Therapies
The first type of injection therapy is blocking therapy. It utilizes a targeted injection to block nerve signals, thus reducing or eliminating pain at the source. The medial branch block is a great example. It offers pain relief by blocking nerve signals emanating from the medial nerves. These nerves run through the tiny spaces in the facet joints. They are easily irritated by degenerative spinal diseases.
One of the big advantages of blocking therapies is that they are targeted. Pain doctors utilize diagnostic imaging to determine exactly where to place the needle. Medicine is then injected exactly where it is needed. Pain relief is realized without flooding the entire bloodstream with a pain medication taken orally.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Therapies
The second type of injection therapy is intended to reduce inflammation. Often times, anti-inflammatory medications are combined with pain medications that offer temporary relief at the site of the injection. Some anti-inflammatory injections offer relief for months at a time. Others only offer relief for a few weeks.
Inflammation is a natural biological response to injury or disease. Its presence indicates that the body recognizes something is wrong. Unfortunately, some chronic pain conditions are the result of long-term inflammation that does not go away by itself. Reducing that inflammation by way of a steroid injection relieves pain and gives the body an opportunity to resolve whatever is causing the inflammation.
3. Regenerative Therapies
Finally, regenerative therapies make up the last category. The two most common procedures in this category are platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. Like injections in the other two categories, both PRP and stem cell therapies are highly targeted.
The goal of regenerative therapies is to encourage the body to regenerate lost or damaged tissue. Osteoarthritis is one condition for which PRP injections are appropriate. The injections consist of blood plasma with concentrated platelets and a full array of natural growth factors. Injected directly into arthritic joints, it can encourage the body to begin replacing the tissue natural degeneration has taken away.
Replacing the tissue relieves the friction between the bones in the affected joint. The natural result is less pain. Successful PRP and stem cell injections will not necessarily cure osteoarthritis, but they can slow down the progression of the disease and provide significant pain relief.
Talk to Your Doctor
Pain meds tend to be the go-to treatment for chronic pain conditions. As a patient, you do not have to blindly accept a pain medication prescription without asking for more information. If long-term medications concern you, talk to your doctor about the alternatives. Ask about injection therapies.
Injection therapies are not appropriate in every case. But neither is pain medication. It is to your advantage to talk about every option you have. When you and your doctor work together to figure out what is best for you, genuine pain relief is possible.