“My Doctor suggested that I get a corticosteroid injection for my joint pain.”
The above statement is such a common patient report that if we received a nickel for every time we heard it, we’d be rich!
So what is the deal with corticosteroid injections for joint pain?
Corticosteroids are a class of medications used to temporarily reduce inflammation in the body via administration by mouth, inhalation, topical, intravenous, or injection.
Sure temporary pain relief is great, but at what cost? Side effects of corticosteroid injections include:
• skin damage at the site of injection
• bacterial infection
• local bleeding
• worsening of initial inflammation
• decreased bone density
• weakening of tendons
• tendon ruptures
• elevated blood sugar in individuals with diabetes
• weakened immune system in individuals with underlying infection
Over the long-term, frequent corticosteroid injections may cause:
• thinning of the skin
• easy bruising
• puffy face
• weight gain
• increased blood pressure
• cataract formation
• nerve damage
• local osteoporosis
• bone damage.
Even more frightening, corticosteroid injections may crystalize over time, ultimately leading to increased joint pain.
Hold on a second! Didn’t you get that corticosteroid shot for joint pain in the first place? Hmm…
When tissues are overused, excessively stretched, or torn, the local cells release factors that recruit blood, stem cells, and healing compounds. Tissue inflammation and swelling occurs as a result of this increased circulation. This is a normal healing response!! As the body lays down new collagen, the injured tissue heals.
Corticosteroid injections interfere with the body’s natural healing process by reducing cellular recruitment, reducing swelling, and inhibiting normal healing. This results in weakened tissues that remain weak for a longer period of time, increasing the risk of re-injury.
What are the alternatives to corticosteroid injections? Don’t be alarmed! You have lots of options.
Take responsibility for your own health.
Band-Aid remedies are just that, Band-Aids.
You must stimulate your damaged tissues in order to promote injury repair and healing. Tissue stimulation is accomplished by early tissue mobilization, manipulation, laser therapy, and controlled exercises.
Additionally, try to follow a strict anti-inflammatory diet. Reduce intake of refined sugar, diary, wheat, and processed foods. Increase your intake of water, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Come see us! We will help you get back on the pathway to health!