When Should You Consider a Cortisone Injection?

Joint and muscle pain is often caused or exacerbated by inflammation. When you sustain an injury, your body's natural healing response sends a flood of blood, nutrients, and other chemicals into your injured tissue. This causes inflammation, pain, and swelling. Inflammation also makes your skin red or warm to the touch. 

At the Orthopedic Center of Arlington in Arlington, Texas, our experienced team, led by orthopedic surgeon Bruce Prager, MD, offers cortisone injections to reduce your pain. They're a critical part of multi-disciplinary treatment programs for a variety of painful upper extremity conditions.

Cortisone 101

Cortisone is a man-made version of cortisol, a hormone produced naturally by your adrenal glands. Cortisol and other corticosteroids suppress your body's immunologic responses, including inflammation and swelling. 

Cortisone injections usually contain a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic

Sometimes called cortisone shots, these injections

deliver healing power directly into your damaged tissue, where it reduces inflammation and swelling. As your inflammation subsides, your pain also subsides, and your range of motion and mobility improves. 

Cortisone injections relieve your inflammation and pain. However, they don't heal the root condition or injury causing your pain. For that reason, cortisone shots are only part of a broader treatment plan that includes procedures or physical therapy to rectify the underlying cause of your pain.

Conditions that cortisone injections improve

At Orthopedic Center of Arlington, we use cortisone injections in treatment plans for a wide array of conditions and pain, affecting:

Cortisone injections relieve pain and make it easier for you to manage day-to-day activities and undergo other treatments to heal your injury. In some instances, the relief provided is significant enough that you can forgo surgery and other invasive procedures. 

What to expect during your cortisone injection

Cortisone injections are minimally invasive outpatient procedures. The first step entails cleaning your skin with an antiseptic. In some instances, we provide a local anesthetic and use a needle to extract some fluid before making injecting the cortisone. 

Generally, a cortisone injection includes lidocaine or another local anesthetic, as well as the corticosteroid. The lidocaine delivers immediate pain relief while the steroid takes effect. 

What to expect following a cortisone injection

Patients respond slightly differently to cortisone injections. But for the most part, your inflammation and pain subside within a couple of days. Some may experience quicker or slower relief. Relief can last for several weeks, and some patients find that just one injection is all they ever need. 

Some patients experience a cortisone flare, which is a temporary increase of pain for a couple of days. You might also notice some discoloration around the injection site. If you have diabetes, a cortisone injection can cause a temporary spike in your blood sugar. 

If you have chronic pain that hasn’t responded top over-the-counter medication, it’s time to consider cortisone treatment. Contact Dr. Prager at the Orthopedic Center of Arlington today. You can schedule an appointment over the phone or book online.

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