Cortisone shots have been around since the early 1950s and are used by doctors to relieve short term pain. Cortisone works by reducing inflammation around a joint, nerve or other structure which helps with pain and can speed up recovery. Cortisone is used on a variety of joins including the knee, elbow, shoulder, etc. and can be used in some situations for neck pain. Cortisone is usually administered with a local anesthetic that provides immediate relief while the cortisone allows for a more gradual but albeit short term effect.
Because of the name cortisone is most commonly mistaken for an anabolic steroid but cortisone is a steroidal hormone produced naturally by your adrenal gland when the body is under stress and it’s 100% legal.
It seems like a miracle drug and can definitely help in a situation where the pain is too much for normal medications. A cortisone injection can relieve inflammation and swelling thus relieving pain in various areas of your body but cortisone which is a corticosteroid does have its risks. Doctors are often reluctant to use cortisone injections because of the detriments they can cause:
Cortisone flare - this reaction sometimes occurs when the cortisone shot crystallizes in the inflamed area. Flares do not last long but can be very painful. They often subside in a couple of days.
Cartilage and Tendon Damage - Corticosteroids can have a corrosive effect on cartilage and tendon material. It is more likely to occur in individuals who receive regular injections and because of this doctors recommend receiving them on a limited basis.
Blood Sugar Elevation - Cortisone injections can cause an increase in blood sugar levels immediately following the injections and for those people who already suffer from diabetes it is essential that they monitor their glucose closely.
Infection Risk - Anytime a needle enters the skin the risk of infection is possible and although minimal is can be very harmful.
Cortisone injections are great for relief of ongoing pain and can help you feel better faster and although there are risks the relief may be worth it. It is important to speak with your doctor or other healthcare professional about your specific needs and any conditions you may have. If your pain is not controlled by regular pain relievers a cortisone injection may be able to help but you must understand the risks and weigh them based on your needs.