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Should I get a cortisone injection?

Injection

Has your doctor recommended a cortisone injection to help relieve your shoulder pain?

Are you wondering why you would get a cortisone injection and what they do?

Then let’s start there! Your doctor may recommend that you have a cortisone injection if you have a painful muscle or joint that is inflamed. The cortisone is injected directly into the muscle or joint and decreases the inflammation. You see, cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory. By decreasing the inflammation, the pressure in the muscle or joint will also be decreased. Once the pressure is decreased you will feel a decrease in the pain.

Decreased inflammation = decreased pressure + time = decreased pain

Do cortisone injections really work?
While the theory for cortisone injections is sound the research tells another story. A recent study concluded that “corticosteroid injections provide – at best – minimal transient pain relief in a small number of patients with rotator cuff tendinosis and cannot modify the natural course of the disease”. Which means that the cortisone injection may help decrease pain in the short term but will not provide the long term benefits needed to heal a rotator cuff issue.

A different study from the Annals of Internal Medicine compared 3 steroid injections with Physical Therapy treatment. This study found that both groups reported a 50% improvement in pain and disability after one year. However, the steroid injection group had more return visits to their primary care doctor and a higher request for additional steroid injections. Basically, Physical Therapy was able to provide the same benefits while decreasing the number of doctor visits after treatment and decreasing the need for drugs.

Are there any side effects from a cortisone injection?

YES! It has long been known that steroid injections lead to degeneration of the soft tissues of the area it is injected into, potentially leading to tendon tears in the future. That cortisone injection you get today to deal with a rotator cuff tear leads to a weakening of the rotator cuff muscles which increases the risk of further tears in the future.

AND, the medical community is starting to question if cortisone injections into joints actually leads to an increased risk of arthritis. A recent report in Radiology observed patients who had previously received steroid injections and found that some of the patients exhibited further joint damage on medical imaging tests. This study is concerning to those who have been told they need to have an injection to decrease pain from arthritis.

PLUS, there are other potential side effects from a cortisone injection including muscle weakness, slow wound healing, and high blood pressure. Just to name a few! The cortisone is injected locally but travels throughout your body and can cause problems to other systems.

Would you prefer a completely natural way to treat your shoulder pain?

Physical therapy offers a more holistic approach to treating your shoulder pain. It is true that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Our treatment model is entirely based around addressing the root cause of your pain instead of just providing temporary relief. This allows us to be non-invasive, movement-based, and entirely customized to YOU.

If you have been told that you need a cortisone injection to deal with your shoulder pain we would like you to get informed about other options. We offer a completely natural route to get your shoulder moving again. Want to find out how? Then schedule a FREE 20 minute Discovery Visit to talk with one of our specialists now.


Dr. Amy Konvalin

Dr. Amy Konvalin

Struggling with pain and dysfunction can impact every part of our lives — it drains our energy, distracts us from our goals, and keeps us from the people and activities we love. As an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist, Dr. Amy Konvalin understands how frustrating those limitations can be — and she knows how to help get you back to the life you want to live! Beginning with a focused evaluation, Dr. Amy works to determine the root causes of your pain, as well as understanding how it affects the way you move through your world. Dysfunctional patterns of movement often grow worse with time and cause further damage if left untreated — so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible. Dr. Amy knows there is no one-size-fits-all plan for success, and she partners with patients to identify their unique treatment goals and personal values. Using these goals as a guide, Amy uses her doctorate training in manual (hands-on) therapy and exercise prescription to treat patients with a wide variety of medical challenges and histories throughout the Maple Valley, Black Diamond and Covington areas. Dr. Amy is also a wife to a Boeing superstar/former C-130 navigator. While they lived in Germany, Dr. Amy was able to volunteer with the US Army to treat military personnel and civilians on base. She has two beautiful teenage ballerinas who keep her on her toes and educate her on all things ballet! Bailey, the princess pup, is her running partner and her napping partner. In the spare moments in between, Amy enjoys reading, yoga, wine with friends, Pilates, and walking on the beach.
Dr. Amy Konvalin

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