What Is Cortisone?
Cortisone is a steroid produced naturally by your adrenal gland. When your body is under stress, your adrenal gland releases cortisone into your bloodstream to help reduce inflammation. The cortisone that doctors inject into a painful joint is a synthetic version of natural cortisone. Longer-lasting than natural cortisone, synthetic cortisone is injected directly into an inflamed area.
Which Painful Conditions Tend to Respond to Cortisone Injections?
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
Cortisone treats these conditions by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the pain: so instead of masking pain with a pain-relieving medication, synthetic cortisone directly attacks the cause of pain and relieves it.
Oral Cortisone or Cortisone Injections?
Doctors prescribe cortisone in pill form for certain problems and as an injection for others. So how can you decide when you need a cortisone shot?
One of the reasons your doctor may suggest an injection of cortisone is because higher concentrations of the drug can be used for maximum relief, with a decreased chance of the side effects that can accompany oral steroids.
Cortisone Injections: Few, But Powerful
However, because cortisone is such a powerful drug, injections are limited and usually spaced at least a month apart. The number and frequency of injections are dependent on the type of condition being treated, and are best determined by your doctor.
When your pain is severe enough to interfere with simple everyday movements, your doctor may suggest a cortisone shot. The shot usually starts working within a few days, and the effects can last anywhere from a few weeks to permanently, depending on your specific condition.
If you have chronic joint pain, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor to make an informed decision. A cortisone shot can bring significant relief when used properly.
At Sideline Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Dr. Bart Eastwood’s extensive experience in sports medicine and joint disorders will help you decide whether cortisone administration can help get you back in the game. Please contact us today at (540) 552-7133 for an appointment or schedule online.