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Pain Treatments

Elbow Bursa Injection

Elbow Bursa Injection

Bursitis is a term that is used to describe when the bursa, which is a small fluid filled sac, is inflamed. The bursa functions as a cushion to protect tendons and muscles from sitting directly on top of a bony structure. Excessive stress and strain can of the tendons and muscles can contribute to the inflammation process and associated pain.  Often times, the best solution is to inject medication directly into the bursa to alleviate the discomfort.

The doctor will numb the back of your arm at the elbow with medication. Then, guided by a palpation or an ultrasound, he will:

  • Insert a thin needle into the bursa using sterile technique
  • Inject an anesthetic (for short term pain relief) and steroid or platelet rich plasma (for longer term relief)

The medicines then spread inside the bursa, thereby hopefully reducing inflammation and pain. Usually, the procedure takes less than 15 minutes and you can go home the same day.

Some patients report pain relief within the first few hours after the injection, but pain may return later that day as the local anesthetic wears off. Longer-term relief usually begins in 48-72 hours, once the steroid begins to work or 6-8 weeks if platelet rich plasma is used.

How long the pain relief lasts varies person to person. For some, the relief lasts several months or longer. If the treatment works for you, you can have periodic injections to stay pain-free.

The risk of a complication from a bursa injection is very low. Rarely, complications include bleeding or infection at the injection, which is unusual in most bursa injections. Most of the time, these effects resolve within a few hours.

Do not do any rigorous activity for the first day after your injection. Take it easy. You can return to your normal activities the next day. Do not drive the day of the injection if you have had any form of anesthesia.

You can continue your regular diet and medications immediately.

In some cases, it may take up to a week for the steroid to begin working. If you don’t feel better within the first two weeks, see your doctor to discuss different treatment options. If platelet rich plasma is used, please allow for 6-8 weeks to see if the injection works.

Not sure what treatment options are best for you?  Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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