Cortisone is a type of steroid. It can greatly reduce swelling, redness, inflammation, and pain. Cortisone injections are a simple treatment that does not take long. Your doctor may ask you questions about your health. Cortisone can affect some diseases, such as diabetes.
Why get a cortisone injection?
Cortisone injections can sometimes relieve pain from a sports injury to osteoarthritis. Your doctor may prescribe a cortisone injection if your pain is not relieved by rest, a splint, physical therapy, rehabilitation exercises, or oral medications (taken by mouth). A cortisone injection is much easier than surgery. And it’s often enough to ease long-lasting pain and allow you to get back to enjoying your activities. Be sure to discuss all the options with your healthcare provider. Injections are generally used no more than 3 to 4 times a year in one part of the body.
The doctor may first clean and perhaps numb the skin at the injection site. They will then inject you with a local anesthetic (for short-term pain relief) and cortisone. The injection may take a few moments. Once in place, a dressing will be put on the injection site. After this, you will be ready to go home.
After the injection, avoid injuring the treated area. But stay active. Walk or do other activities that don’t require a lot of effort. Just be careful not to mistreat the area that was causing you trouble.
The next day
Some people feel more pain after receiving the injection. This is normal and will go away on its own in a short time. You can put ice duringtwentyminutes at a time on the injury so the pain does not continue to increase. Rest for a day or two. It is not necessary to be in bed. But it is recommended that you avoid doing activities that may affect the injured area.
Cortisone injections and diabetes
Cortisone injections can raise blood sugar for several days after the injection. If you have diabetes, watch your blood sugar closely during this time. Follow your usual plan for when your blood sugar is very high.
Breaking the cycle of pain
Cortisone injections are not for every body, but they are useful for patients whose pain does not respond to other therapies. Before we recommend cortisone injections, we can apply other conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), ice packs, heat, electrical stimulation and support garments, acupuncture, traction, biofeedback, Manipulation (Chiropractic), or Strengthening Exercises – all procedures, techniques, and modalities that have been shown to alleviate some cases of back pain.
If there is no improvement after six weeks, and if the patient is becoming discouraged, we may consider cortisone injections.
One of the concerns about back and neck injuries is that they may inhibit some patients from participating in physical activities that may be beneficial or even essential for rehabilitation.
While it is important to rest an injured muscle or joint, prolonged inactivity increases the chances of re-injury. Also, muscles that are not conditioned can become irritated. and the resulting discomfort can disturb sleep and cause spasms, fatigue and pain. For these reasons, spinal cord injury patients sometimes feel frustrated and discouraged.
For our patients who present with a particular pattern of pain, cortisone injections are an option. These injections are used to treat inflammation of the joints, tendons, or bursae. In the case of spinal injuries, cortisone can be injected into a facet joint, or directly into the spinal canal, where the anti-inflammatory effect of steroids can relieve pressure on nerves and nerve roots. Complications are rare. The injection is virtually painless and takes effect fairly quickly.
Cortisone injections for certain cases
While cortisone injections are widely used, and considered safe and effective in the vast majority of cases, there are patients for whom cortisone injections are contraindicated. In patients with diabetes, cortisone may raise blood glucose levels. Because cortisone mimics the body’s immune hormones, it can interfere with the body’s own ability to fight infection, or it may mask an infection by suppressing signs and symptoms of inflammation. Cortisone injections are not advised for some patients with bleeding disorders.
Corticosteroids replicate the action of our natural immune system, and are powerful tools. However, as with any super effective modality, they must be applied judiciously and in the right context.
If pain becomes an impediment to a healthy lifestyle or if you have tried conservative therapies and have found no relief, discuss your options with a member of our clinical staff. Ask them if cortisone injections might be a viable option for your particular situation.