Cortisone Injections…

Will a Cortisone Injection fix your problem?

Most of us know someone who has had a cortisone injection for a painful condition. Common areas that may receive cortisone injections include inflamed bursa (eg. in the shoulder or hip) as well or spinal joints. The reviews of each person’s experiences are often mixed. This leaves us with the questions:

1. Will cortisone help me?

First of all, Cortisone is a medication that is classified as a steroid, that is typically used to treat inflammation, not pain. The important concept to understand with cortisone injections is that yes they can be a highly effective tool but they do not change any of the underlying; causes/pathologies associated with the pain which is why there can be such varied responses.I like to break it up into 3 Types of Responders:

  1. Hyper-responders: These are the extreme minority that have one injection and the pain is gone forever
  2. Average-responders: A reduction in pain that can last anywhere from 1 week to a few months
  3. Non-responders: Little to no effect at all


2. Should I get a Cortisone injection?

In short, cortisone is rarely the first option to consider when it comes to treatment and rehabilitation, but it does have a place in certain circumstances. Cortisone can be considered when:
  1. The pain is driven by an inflammatory condition
  2. Pain is at such a high level that conservative management cannot be undertaken properly. For example: manual therapy or rehab exercise performance
  3. The pain/inflammation is not responding to the conservative management on its own
The research tells us that, the most effective use of cortisone is when it’s combined with other forms of therapies that aim to address the underlying causes- such as strengthening exercises.

If you’re concerned about being referred for a cortisone injection before trying more effective long-term treatment options or would like to discuss this with our team please don’t hesitate to make call us today!Have a great day!

James Taylor
Physiotherapist & Exercise Physiologist