Corticosteroid (“cortisone”) injections are a treatment option designed to decrease pain, swelling and inflammation. Steroid injections create a strong, local anti-inflammatory response (Targeted to a specific joint, bursa or other focal area of the body) while minimizing unpleasant systemic side effects.
Medications Given During the Injection
Steroid injections are usually a combination of a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid. The local anesthetic provides immediate pain relief that lasts for 1-2 hours and then “wears off,” similar to an injection at the dentist’s office.
The First 24-48 Hours After Injection
Some patients experience no immediate relief (or in some cases worsening pain) for 24-48 hours after receiving an injection. Ice and oral anti-inflammatory medications (Ibuprofen or Naproxen) are usually helpful. The pain subsides with time and rarely lasts longer than 24-48 hours. Please call the office if the increased pain lasts more than 3 days or if visible swelling, redness or fever develop.
Longevity of a Steroid Injection
Steroid injections last for a variable amount of time. Some conditions (such as bursitis and tendonitis) may experience permanent relief following a steroid injection, whereas other conditions (such as significant arthritis) may experience temporary relief. Some patients have relief of their symptoms for several months, whereas others have several weeks of relief. Injections can help to provide pain relief so that you can carry out your activities of daily living and/or participate more effectively in physical therapy/home exercises.