As winter ushers in cold, damp weather, many people experience aches, pains and stiffness in their joints. This discomfort ranges from mild to moderate to downright debilitating.
Helping individuals reduce the pain and inflammation that limit activity, Jinghui Xie, MD, PhD, of Caring Pain Management, with offices in Montclair and Metuchen, offers trigger point injections to relieve pain and inflammation, allowing muscles and tendons to relax and heal.
Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, Dr. Xie how injections can help patients live a more active, comfortable lifestyle throughout the winter and beyond.
Q: What are trigger point injections?
A: Trigger point injections are a type of injection that applies a small amount of anesthetic and/or steroid medications to relieve pain and inflammation in a trigger point.
Trigger points are sensitive spots of tight muscle fibers formed in muscles. They may be caused by strenuous workouts, repetitive movements or overuse injuries. Trigger points are a very common cause of chronic muscle pain.
Q: What conditions do you commonly treat during the winter?
A: Most people have flare-ups of their arthritis or their sciatic. Or, they experience neck pain, lower back pain, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.
Q: What is the first step in treatment?
A: We offer telemedicine, which is helpful when it’s cold or patients can’t come in to the office. They can schedule their initial appointment through our website, and then have the appointment at home using their smart phone or a computer. Afterward, depending on what they need, we can arrange treatment.
A lot of times when the patient comes to us, they already have imaging because they’ve either seen their therapist or their primary care doctor. We can also order imaging as needed, starting with an X-ray first. Sometimes, if the pain doesn't go away within the expected timeframe, we'll set up additional imaging such as MRI or CT scan, depending on how they do.
Q: Where do you administer these injections?
A: I make it as easy as possible for the patient. Trigger point injections are simple treatment with minimal side effects and can be given in my offices. For other injections, we set up in the center, where there are nurses and anesthesiologists and it's more of a structured environment. There will be transportation provided for most cases if patients need it. If they don't like needles, we will provide sedation so that they're comfortable. Or, they will be given some medicine to help them relax. We have nurses watching them after the procedure to make sure everything goes well before they're discharged and sent home.
We realize a lot of people work during the day, so we have weekend appointments and weekday appointments for patients as well.
Q: How soon can patients expect relief?
A: Typically, if it's a joint injection, patients feel some relief or loosening up quickly. The anti-inflammatories start working after two days and relief can last for a few months, but that varies a lot depending on the injection and the patient.
Q: What treatment can be offered for patients who require additional relief?
A: If relief doesn't last long, we also provide many other pain management procedures that may be helpful. As appropriate, we could consider other options such as surgery or more physical therapy as well.
Q: What other services do you offer?
A: We offer a wide range of pain management injections and minimally-invasive procedures such as epidural steroid injections, percutaneous discectomy, discogram, radiofrequency ablation and many more, as listed on our website. We just began to offer aesthetic services such as Xeomin injections, which, similar to Botox, are FDA-approved neurotoxin treatments to temporarily improve the looks of moderate to severe frown lines, forehead lines and crow's-feet in adults. We’re also offering injectable dermal fillers, which are popular facial rejuvenation treatments that can help you look younger without surgery or downtime, in a cost-effective way.
Note: Original article appeared on NJ.com