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Corticosteroid shots, also known as cortisone shots, can be a great way to manage pain in a variety of areas, especially for athletes and others who are active. However, they can also cause some serious problems and issues if they are used long-term. 

This is why it’s important to understand the full picture of what a cortisone shot is, what they are used for, and the possible effects that could happen to you or your loved one for using them for an extended period of time. 

What is a cortisone shot? 

Corticosteroid injections — also known as cortisone shots — are shots used usually in the joint area to reduce pain and help people achieve some sort of pain management. There are other forms of cortisone shots that can be taken orally and are used to treat medical issues such as asthma or lupus. 

The steroid itself mimics the already present hormones in your body that help ease the pain in muscles and joints. You can usually get these shots at your family physician’s office. Your yearly amount of shots is limited however because of the strength of the drug and the negative effects they can have. 

What are cortisone shots for?

Cortisone shots are most effective in treating inflammatory issues throughout the body in the joints and muscles. Even tiny joints in the hands and the feet can benefit from cortisone shots. Some of the issues that cortisone shots help with are: 

  • Arthritis (many kinds that inflame every area of the body)
  • Gout (usually in the feet with acute pain)
  • Joint pain (in the knee, elbow, feet are some examples)
  • Back Pain (any kind in any area)
  • Tendinitis (irritation of a tendon that connects muscle to bone)

What are the long-term effects of using cortisone shots?

There are both short-term and long-term side effects connected to cortisone shots but long-term effects are the ones physicians and professionals worry about the most. 

Short-term effects of using cortisone shots include irritation and swelling near the injection site. This can be accompanied by reduced movement and pain that lasts several hours. Luckily, these issues can be treated with ice and resting in the affected area. 

The long-term effects of these shots is quite a larger list. These effects become more possible the longer shots are taken and how frequently they are administered. Some examples include: 

  • Cartilage damage: Because there are repetitive injections into one area, the cartilage of the bone can become weak, causing it to break easier or become more inflamed than before. 
  • Joint infection: Similar to cartilage damage, the more injections into one area, the weaker the area can get. 
  • Bone death: Cortisone shots can sometimes weaken the intestine’s ability to absorb calcium, making the bones weaker. In severe cases, the blood supply is cut off, causing severe pain. 
  • Nerve damage: Continuous blocking of nerve receptors can cause issues when it comes to your nerves receiving pain. With injections, they can weaken the body’s natural ability to understand pain or damage the nerves around the injections site to where they become numb.

There are also other side effects such as skin thinning, insomnia, and weight gain or loss.

Schedule an Appointment Today

The best way to avoid these side effects? Seek natural pain relief first. 

Despite the current pandemic, South Orange Rehabilitation and Wellness is still open for business. We’re that dedicated to making sure our clients have the help they need to make sure their bodies are working in the best ways and managing pain in a natural way, without medicine if possible. 

If you’re having body problems, whether that be in your joints or just all over, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today and schedule an appointment. Our skilled professionals are ready to work with you to get your pain under control and get you back to doing what you love.