Updated: Jan 17
No...not those kind of steroids.
Cortisone is a synthetic (man-made) version of a hormone commonly found in the body: Cortisol. Cortisone mimics the effects of cortisol in your body but tends to create a much stronger response in regards to reducing inflammation in and around tissue. Not to be confused with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aleve (Naproxen/Naproxen Sodium), etc. which are all Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs).
Steroidal vs. Non-Steroidal
Corticosteroids can be taken orally, given via IV or injected directly into a joint.
Cortisone is typically prescribed to treat:
Bursitis Osteoarthritis (OA)
Plantar Fasciitis Rotator Cuff Problems
Carpal Tunnel Tendonitis/Tendinosis
Tennis Elbow Golfer’s Elbow
While the generally accepted word on the street is that cortisone is a wonder drug; a magical pain eliminating juice…and sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s not.
The purpose of the injection can vary from doctor to doctor. Sometimes the injection helps the doctor in ruling in or rule out a specific condition, it can sometimes provide immediate pain relief or it can allow for other, more conservative treatments to become more effective.
Results vary from patient to patient. Some patients see complete resolution of symptoms whereas others notice no changes in symptoms. Sometimes the dampening of symptoms lasts only 2 weeks while in other cases it can last upwards of 1 year.
Unfortunately, the purpose of the injection is not explained in a clear way or not explained at all to the patient, it’s simply sold as “this should help with the pain and inflammation.”
The issue with injections as a means of treating a problem area is that the source behind the symptoms is rarely ever addressed. If the injection is effective the symptoms are calmed down or even eliminated outright.