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Cortisone injections: Targeting painful joints

Cortisone injections are usually used for chronic pain conditions caused by inflammation and swelling around the joints, such as arthritis, sciatica, and tendonitis. Cortisone injections for the shoulder, knee, and back are some of the most common treatments. 

Painful joints are often helped by physiotherapy; however, some healthcare providers may recommend cortisone injections in conjunction with physiotherapy or if the physio seems not to be having as much of an effect. Having a cortisone injection done privately with Fusion Healthcare means flexible appointments, experienced NHS clinicians and having the treatment when its needed without a long wait. 

Why should I have a cortisone injection? 

Cortisone injections, also called corticosteroid injections, are used to treat a variety of issues pertaining to inflammation. Cortisone injections can provide relief from a number of conditions. Some conditions a cortisone injection may be useful in treating include: 

  • Painful joints 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Swollen 
  • Tendonitis 
  • Painful tendons 
  • Bursitis (when the fluid-filled sacs that cushion a joint become swollen) 
  • Arthritis 
  • Limited rage of movement 

Cortisone injections are effective in alleviating specific pain present in joints and muscles in many parts of the body including the shoulder, knee, foot, ankle, wrist, etc. After an injection, patients often feel immediate relief from the pain, effects can last for several months. Depending on the area being treated, Cortisone injections can be administered in the same place up to four times in a year. Your provider might also use cortisone shots to treat inflammation in your tendons or bursae — the fluid-filled sacs that cushion spaces around and between your joints, tendons and bones.  

Steroids (specifically Glucocorticoids) are very powerful anti-inflammatory substances. They can settle down a painful joint or other soft tissue and give patients the opportunity to get on with their everyday activities. The injection also administers local anaesthetic to provide some immediate relief until the steroid has time to take effect. The steroids used at Fusion Healthcare are not the same as those used to build muscle. Medications are administered very cautiously and Fusion Healthcare we will not recommend patients to have large numbers of repeated injections. 

How the cortisone injection works 

An ultrasound transducer, otherwise known as an ultrasound probe, is used to acquire the images of the affected area. The probe is applied to the area that is being scanned and a water-based gel is used to allow for good contact and less friction between the prob and the skin. The probe is used to identify the where the pain is coming from and pinpoint the best place for the insertion of the needle and administration of the local anaesthetic and steroid. As such, a thorough ultrasound investigation of the area is important before proceeding as well as discussing with the patient where they feel the most pain when doing their everyday tasks. 

A cortisone injection will reduce the pain and inflammation in the area that the cortisone is injected. The procedure is carried out by a highly qualified NHS clinician in the Fusion Healthcare clinic, who will thoroughly discuss with the patient the ins and outs of the procedure and follow up care. 

As this is a procedure involving the administration of medication, a referral is required from a healthcare provider before having the procedure done privately. Often, physios may refer their patients for this form of treatment if physiotherapy alone is providing little relief from the pain. Additionally, chronic pain that may not be alleviated by painkillers can also warrant this form of treatment. Discuss options with your healthcare provider. 

Why do I need a cortisone injection? 

A cortisone injection targets swelling and inflammation which in turn targets the pain in a specific area or joint. Cortisone injections are seen as a good option if traditional remedies, like physiotherapy, might not be working or to make traditional remedies more effective.  

Inflammation usually occurs when the immune system sends cells to fight infections or to heal and injury in the body. The cortisone injection is injected into the part of the body that is experiencing inflammation. The cortisone calms the immune systems response in that location, thus reducing pain and inflammation. 

Cortisone injections have been shown to provide immediate and long-term relief from symptoms and have positive effects lasting several months. Additionally, depending on the area, cortisone injections can be administered multiple times in the same area to tackle the inflammation when it may come back. Many patients find regular cortisone injections help them to keep the pain away and allow them to get on with their lives pain free. 

How long do cortisone injections take to work? 

How long the cortisone injection takes to work varies depending on the person. Symptoms like inflammation and pain may not get better immediately. It can take up to a week for a cortisone injection to help symptoms and for the cortisone to come into effect. At Fusion Healthcare, anaesthetic is administered to provide patients immediate relief in the target area, when this wears off patients may feel pain until the cortisone takes effect. This is completely normal. 

How often can you get a cortisone injection? 

Some patients may only nee one cortisone injection to find relief from pain and inflammation, especially in the case of recovering from a temporary injury. In the case of a chronic injury (i.e. chronic bursitis), multiple cortisone injections may be required to provide continuous relief. Healthcare providers will determine when it is safe to have another dose. There is generally a minimum of three months required between rounds. Most people are not recommended to have more that three to four injections in a year. 

How long does a cortisone injection last? 

Everybody’s body reacts to cortisone injections differently, so the amount of time that effects may last vary from person to person. Cortisone injections typically tend to last anywhere from a few weeks up to several months. Many patients notice symptoms returning gradually over time, when this happened it is recommended to have another cortisone injection so that the positive effects may continue. 

Fusion healthcare provide range of ultrasound guided injection service. For further information or booking Call now