Around 59% of Americans have suffered from pain in the last three months. The number one cause? You guessed it – back pain.
Lots of things cause back pain, with physical work, old age, and obesity all playing a part. But while lifestyle changes may help in the long run, sometimes you need immediate relief. Something to ease the pain and allow you to get on with life again.
That’s where cortisone injections come in. They’re not a long-term solution, but if the pain gets too intense to bear, they can provide some relief.
Let’s take a quick look at how effective cortisone injections are and when to consider using them.
What Is a Cortisone Injection for Back Pain?
Cortisone is a synthetic version of the hormone cortisol. When used as a medication, it is called a corticosteroid and it is used to treat inflammation. They can treat chronic back pain when exercise and other medications are not providing enough pain relief.
You can receive a back pain steroid injection directly into the area that contains the spinal fluid. This is called the epidural space and it allows the steroids to go right to the source of your pain. Epidural injections of corticosteroids can be delivered by:
- Other trained medical professionals.
Another name for this is a lumbar injection. It can treat pain caused by sciatica, lumbar herniated disks, lumbar spinal stenosis, and arthritis.
How Effective Are Cortisone Injections?
Chronic back pain is usually caused by nerve roots in the lumbar region becoming pinched or inflamed. The pain can radiate down your legs as well. A back pain steroid injection delivers medication right to the inflamed area. This reduces inflammation and brings pain relief.
Many people experience pain relief for up to three months, making it one of the best available treatments for short term pain relief. However, sometimes people experience only limited pain relief and sometimes no relief at all.
Cortisone Injection Side Effects
It’s possible that the pain will temporarily get worse before it gets better. It usually takes effect within 24 hours. If you have diabetes, it could also cause high blood sugar, sometimes for several days. You should also talk to your doctor if you have glaucoma, as it can temporarily affect the pressure in your eye.
When Should I Consider Cortisone Injections?
Cortisone injections can only help when inflammation is the cause of your back pain. Inflammation typically presents with joint pain, swelling, and warmth in the affected area. But this is not always the case.
Joints affected by osteoarthritis can be inflamed, but not appear to be so. In these cases, cortisone injects can provide relief.
If pain is getting in the way of your physical therapy, a cortisone shot may provide the short term relief you need to get on with your therapy. They can also help if you need to attend a major event without severe pain.
Cortisone Injections – A Powerful Tool for Short Term Relief
If you’re living with chronic back pain, cortisone injections could bring you some much needed relief. They can’t treat the underlying problem, but they can make daily life easier. This can allow you to get on with other therapy that can help you in the long run.
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