The Truth about Cortisone Injections

A Review of Cortisone Injections

There are a variety of treatment plans for patients dealing with pain. Corticosteroids are used to decrease the amount of inflammation that is a result of many different diseases. Though corticosteroids do not directly relieve pain, they do so because they treat inflammation. Corticosteroids can be taken in a variety of manners such as orally, inhaled, external application to the skin, or injection into bodily tissue.

Cortisone is a type of corticosteroid that is issued by injection. These injections are typically applied in order to treat inflammation in local areas of the body such as a joint or tendon. They can also be used to treat widespread damage such as an allergic reaction or arthritis that spread throughout the body.

Cortisone injections are not tough to come across by and are often administered in the doctor’s office. The advantages of cortisone injections is that their onset time is very low, so you get speedy results. They are also known to coincide with minimal to no side effects.  Injections are often better than oral anti-inflammatory medication because they do not do much damage to your stomach.

The Potential Side-Effects

The downside to cortisone injections is that you have the potential for short-term side-effects, though they are very rare. Such side-effects include discoloration of the skin due to loss of pigmentation, bacterial infection, local bleeding due to broken blood vessels, and local soreness.

Corticosteroid injections, like cortisone injections for example, can also lead to long-term side effects which include weight gain, easy bruising, skin and bone thinning, and an increase in blood pressure. Such injections can also be known to weaken tendons or the area near the tendons, sometimes even leading to their rupturing.

Additional side-effects due to cortisone injections include joint cartilage thinning, joint ligament weakening, increased joint inflammation, and potential infection introduction to the joint.

It is important to remember that though there is potential for these side-effects, the likelihood of them occurring is very low. Thus, it is important to talk to your doctor in order to determine how prone you are to these side-effects and if corticosteroid injections are right for you.

It is important to use cortisone injections with caution when using it to treat patients with diabetes. This is because the cortisone injections are known to elevate blood sugar levels, which can really do damage to a diabetic’s health. Similarly, cortisone injections can hinder the body’s ability to recognize or fight an infection by masking inflammation so it is often used with caution for people with pre-existing infections.

How Is the Injection Applied?

Applying a cortisone injection directly to the joint of problem can rapidly restore functionality, increase mobility, and decrease inflammation.

The occurrence of the side-effects is reliant upon the dosage and frequency of the injections.

The process of injection is fairly simple. Your doctor or a medical professional who is administering your injection will draw up an anesthetic simultaneously with the corticosteroid using a syringe. An anesthesia spray is often used as an alternative for injecting the anesthetic. Once the area of injection is sterilized, the syringe needle is inserted into your tissue and injected into your particular area of inflammation.

In the event that there is excessive fluid in your joint, the fluid will often be removed prior to the application of your cortisone injection. This is done in order to perform a laboratory test on the fluid and also decrease your healing period. Removal of the fluid ensures a decrease in pressure against your joints, thus decreasing your pain.

More often than not, the cortisone injection is very effective. It decreases inflammation within 2 days and involves minimal pain from the procedure due to the local anesthetic if it is used. Treatment is always catered towards the patient’s lifestyle, history, and condition. It is always encouraged to bring up your thoughts and concerns to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to best monitor whether or not the cortisone injection is right for you.

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