Relieving joint pain

Written by: Dr Andrew Burgess
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Joint pain can greatly affect your quality of life, making daily activities difficult and uncomfortable. If you're considering joint injections as a treatment option, it's important to understand what they entail and how they can potentially alleviate your symptoms. In his latest online article, Dr Andrew Burgess gives us his insights.

What are joint injections?

Joint injections involve the direct delivery of medication into a specific joint to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. They are commonly used to treat conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. The injection typically contains a combination of a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medication) and a local anaesthetic (numbing medication). These medications work together to reduce pain and swelling in the affected joint.


When are joint injections recommended?

Your healthcare provider may recommend joint injections if you have persistent joint pain that hasn't responded to other treatments such as oral medications, physical therapy, or lifestyle modifications. They are particularly beneficial when the pain is localised to a specific joint and is caused by inflammation.


What to expect during the procedure

Joint injections are performed in a clinical setting by a trained healthcare professional, such as a rheumatologist or orthopaedic specialist. Prior to the injection, the skin around the joint is carefully cleaned to minimise the risk of infection. A local anaesthetic may be applied to numb the area, making the procedure more comfortable. Using a thin needle, the medication is injected directly into the joint space guided by ultrasound or fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray). You may feel some pressure or discomfort during the injection, but it is usually well tolerated and brief.


After the injection

Following the injection, you may experience some mild discomfort or swelling at the injection site. Applying ice and resting the joint can help alleviate these symptoms. It's important to avoid strenuous activities involving the injected joint for a day or two to allow the medication to take effect.


Benefits and risks

The primary benefit of joint injections is the potential relief of pain and improvement in joint function, allowing you to resume activities that may have been limited due to pain. However, like any medical procedure, joint injections carry some risks, including infection, allergic reactions, and temporary flare-ups of pain.


Discussing your options

Before undergoing joint injections, it's essential to discuss the procedure with your healthcare provider. They can explain the potential benefits and risks based on your individual health needs and medical history. Together, you can decide if joint injections are the right treatment option for you.


Dr Andrew Burgess is an esteemed general practitioner. You can schedule an appointment with Dr Burgess on his Top Doctors profile.

By Dr Andrew Burgess
GP (general practitioner)

Dr Andrew Burgess is a leading general practitioner (GP) based in Brentwood, Essex. He specialises in joint injections, skin tags and minor surgery alongside steroid injections, travel advice and blood tests. He privately practices at the Warley Medical clinic and also is partner in a NHS GP practice.  

He pursued his education in Brentwood before embarking on his medical journey at the University of Leeds. During his medical studies, he distinguished himself by completing an additional anatomy degree focusing on head and neck anatomy. He further honed his skills through an extended placement with Professor Tim Briggs at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore.

Dr Burgess has accumulated diverse experience across London and Essex, spanning vascular surgery, ear nose and throat surgery as well as stroke medicine, before transitioning to general practice. He has showcased his expertise by presenting on various medical topics at both national and international forums.

Since 2018, Dr Burgess has dedicated himself to general practice, with a special emphasis on minor surgical procedures and musculoskeletal injections. As a partner in a bustling NHS practice, he remains actively engaged in urgent care services.

Dr Burgess is an ambassador for SNAP Charity and holds trustee positions in two charitable organisations. Drawing from his diverse experiences, Dr Burgess is committed to providing patients with understanding, thorough, and friendly healthcare services. 

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