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. It’s longer-lasting and is not injected into your bloodstream, but rather directly into an inflamed area.
Synthetic cortisone is used mainly to treat painful conditions such as:
- rheumatoid and osteoarthritis
- carpal tunnel
- tennis elbow
Cortisone treats the condition by reducing inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the pain, so instead of masking pain with a pain-relieving medication, it attacks the cause of pain instead, which in turn relieves the pain.
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. 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 movement, 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. If you live in the Coastal Virginia region, contact us. We’re Hampton Roads Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, a 60-year-old practice with a team of top-notch doctors, 10 of whom were recently added to Coastal Virginia Magazine’s “Top Doc” list, which is a list of doctors selected by their peers in the medical profession as the “best of the best” in the area! With four locations across the region, we’re ready to help you with an orthopedic pain management plan tailored to your needs.