Are Joint Injections the Answer?

If you’re thinking about getting joint injections to treat your pain, you’re in good company. An early patient who benefited from the treatments was John F. Kennedy. In fact, the procedure helped him so much, he appointed Dr. Janet Travell as the official physician of the White House, and she stayed on to care for later presidents after his untimely death. Dr. Janet Travell was inspired by her father, William Travell, MD. He dedicated his practice to helping people suffering from pain. The young Travell joined her father, and together they helped bring joint injections for the treatment of pain into mainstream medicine.

Are joint injections the right treatment for you?

 Inflammation is the body’s response to injury or disease; it causes your bodies white blood cells to come running to the affected area – leading to swelling, pressure, and pain. Joint injections work by cutting back the inflammatory response, so the symptoms that go along with it are relieved.

Joint injections can help inflammatory conditions felt throughout the body. Some specific ailments include bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, injuries, and other degenerative diseases.

What is in the injection?

Corticosteroid – it may sound like a body builder’s secret weapon, but it’s a different substance from the traditional steroids you often hear about. Corticosteroids are a hormone that lessens your body’s inflammatory response, which in turn, reduces your pain. When you receive a joint injection, you should experience a decrease in your most painful symptoms, like swelling, sensitivity, and heat.

What is it like to get a joint injection?

 If you’re seeking a diagnosis, your doctor will want you to be experiencing the symptoms at the time of the shot. This way, after receiving the injection, you’ll be able to tell rather quickly if you’re suffering from specific conditions.

Prior to any shots, the area where you receive the shot will be properly cleaned to prevent infection.

Before you receive your injection, you may receive a shot with an anesthetic in order to dull any discomfort from the procedure. Additionally, topical numbing agents may be used.

Your doctor will then push the needle to reach the target site. This is performed in a slow manner, and should be nearly painless.

Afterwards, the injection site will be dressed to keep it clean. For the first couple days, you’ll probably be prescribed an oral anti-biotic, and your doctor will, in all likelihood, recommend that you ice the injection spot regularly.

After you get your joint injection, you’ll want to rest and relax for a few days. You’ve just received a strong treatment, and the surrounding tissues are affected. Avoid complications by resting the joint until your doctor tells you it’s safe to begin normal activity.


Dennis A Cardone, DO, CAQSM. Alfred F. Tallia, MD, MPH. (2002, July 15). Joint and Soft Tissue Injection. American Family Physician. Retrieved from

Emmanuel Konstantakos, MD. (2016, June 01). What is cortisone? Arthritis-health. Retrieved from

Virginia P. Wilson. (2003). Janet G. Travell, MD – A Daugter’s Recollection. Texas Heart Institute Journal. Retrieved from

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