How does the steroid cortisone reduce pain? If you have inflamed joints, you will experience difficulties and hurdles in your day-to-day activities. Life gets less enjoyable, and your movement becomes limited when you struggle with conditions and health disorders that increase the chances of or worsen joint inflammation.
In such cases, Cortisone shots are effective in relieving the pain that comes with joint inflammation. It is a safe and inexpensive method of treatment. While your pain doctor will advise the best treatments for your condition, learning about cortisone shots and how they reduce pain can help make informed decisions.
What is Cortisone?
Cortisone is the synthetic version of cortisol. The natural version is a chemical that the adrenal gland in your brain produces. It is a steroid that is active in the bloodstream and responds against stress. Cortisone is available in different potencies that are more powerful than cortisol and help suppress various negative psychosomatic, physiological, and psychological pain symptoms. You shouldn’t confuse cortisone or cortisol with anabolic steroids such as testosterone. Cortisone (and cortisol) is an anti-inflammatory steroid that helps reduce irritation and inflammation in various parts of the body and affects the immune system.
Are Cortisone Shots the Best Option?
Normally, cortisone is available as oral medication and injection. Still, doctors consider injections to be more effective since they directly apply to the affected region in case of joint or tendonitis inflammations. On the other hand, medicine for oral use containing cortisone takes time to affect the inflamed region as it first dilutes and enters the bloodstream.
What’s the Use of Cortisone?
Cortisone shots offer only short-term relief and solutions. Besides, you should discuss the use with your pain doctor. Here are some of the reasons why your pain doctor may advise administering cortisone shots.
- Pain relief (short period effect)
- Arthritis flare-up treatment
- Detecting pain source through administration of cortisone shots on the joint pain
- Postponing joint surgery and relieving pain from elderly arthritis
How Does it Reduce Pain?
Doctors inject the cortisone shots directly onto the inflammation site. Often, patients confuse cortisone with pain-relieving medication due to its pain-reducing properties. Remember, there are reasons why you should abstain from the use of cortisone shots, such as when pain persists or worsens. Cortisone helps in shutting down cells that produce collagen in the joint or tendon. By restricting the production of collagen, cortisone calms the nerves and reduces inflammation. Although cortisone reduces swelling, indirectly regulates pain, and reduces inflammation, it doesn’t heal the inflammation or the trigger that led to inflammation.
It starts affecting the body soon after the injection, yet the pain relief duration varies from patient to patient. While some people may report immediate pain relief, others experience a gradual reduction in pain, like weeks or a few days. Due to a chronic condition and severe stage, the pain relief might not be as effective using cortisone.
The cortisone shots may flare up the inflammation and thus pain during the 48 hours following the injection. However, the pain eventually reduces, whereas the overall effect can potentially last up to a couple of months.
What Happens During a Cortisone Shot?
Once you wear a medical gown, your doctor will suggest a suitable position for you to stay in to insert the needle into the affected area. Initially, the injection site requires proper cleaning to prevent any complications. After an anesthetic spray for numbing the injection site, your doctor will insert the needle. They may use fluoroscopy (X-Ray) or ultrasound to see the progress of the needle as it moves into the body and sets onto the right spot. In case the pressure converts into extreme discomfort, you should promptly inform your doctor.
After the needle reaches the right spot, your doctor will release the medication. The shots include corticosteroids to help in reducing inflammation and pain. Meanwhile, you may receive an anesthetic for immediate relief.
Following the Cortisone Shot
It is possible to experience redness on your chest or face after your doctor administers a cortisone shot. In the case of diabetes, you may experience a minor and temporary spike in blood sugar levels.
Here’s what your doctor will instruct you to do after the shot:
- Avoid pressuring or touching the body part where they inserted the needle
- Shower but avoid hot tub, bathtub, whirlpool, etc.
- Use ice on the injection site for numbing the pain (avoid heating pads)
- Inform your doctor if you notice any signs of infections, redness, swelling, etc., that last after 48 hours of injection
What is Cortisone, and How Does It Reduce Pain? Conclusion
Do you want to find more information regarding cortisone shots and use? Here at Spine New York City, Dr. Matthew Grimm offers the best pain management and treatment. He offers individualized attention and treats pain conditions and other disorders through a multi disciplinary approach.