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Understanding Cortisone Injections: Benefits, Uses, And What To Expect

Understanding Cortisone Injections: Benefits, Uses, and What to Expect

Do you experience shooting pain and inflammation in the joints of your back, arm, or knee? Perhaps you struggle to perform the everyday chores because the chronic pain holds you back.
As per the data from the CDC, an estimated 53.2 million US adults (21.2%) have been diagnosed with a form of rheumatoid arthritis, gout, arthritis, lupus, or fibromyalgia, the major contributors of pain.

The reason most people learn to live with the pain is that they don’t want to go under the knife or opt for highly invasive procedures. Fortunately, cortisone injections have proven effective in treating pain in the back, arms, knee, and other areas of the body.

Let’s explore what these injections are and how they can help reduce pain.

What are Cortisone Shots?

Cortisone shots are injectables that help reduce inflammation and relieve pain in specific areas of your body. You can think of them as a targeted treatment for pain relief. These injections contain anabolic steroids (corticosteroids), which are powerful anti-inflammatory medications.

When you have an injury or a condition like arthritis, your body responds with inflammation, which causes pain and increased swelling. Cortisone shots work by reducing that inflammation, providing relief from the symptoms. 

Doctors often use cortisone shots to treat a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, tendinitis, and back pain. The injection is typically given directly into the affected area, whether it’s a joint, muscle, or around a nerve, making them ideal if you want to avoid surgical procedures.

Conditions Cortisone Injections Can Treat 

Cortisone shots help treat various inflammatory conditions involving muscles, joints, and connective tissues. If you have the following conditions, you can go for these minimally invasive corticosteroid injections for long-lasting pain relief.

Shoulder Pain

Feeling like your shoulder is stuck in ice? Does your shoulder hurt when you reach overhead? Cortisone injections can offer relief by reducing inflammation in the pinched area. 

These shots can alleviate the pain while restoring the joint’s movement. Studies show they offer significant pain relief for 8-16 weeks compared to other options like pills or physical therapy.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The tingling and pain from carpal tunnel can be eased by a cortisone shot in about half of all cases. Although the shots provide short-term relief, they allow you to manage symptoms while exploring other treatment options.


If osteoarthritis makes your knees or hips achy and stiff, the anti-inflammatory steroids can help relieve the pain. The typical time-frame for pain improvement is 1-4 weeks, with some lasting longer. It’s crucial to choose the right clinic to get high-quality shots.

👉 Also Read: Alliance Orthopedics’ Approach to Inflammatory Arthritis: Minimizing Pain, Maximizing Mobility


Bursitis is inflammation of the cushioning sacs around your joints. Cortisone injections can effectively reduce this inflammation. While initial relief may be better than physical therapy at 6 weeks and 3 months, the benefits tend to even out after a year.

Trigger Finger

If your finger gets stuck in a bent position (trigger finger), cortisone shots offer a high success rate. Studies show a 54-86% chance of ultimately resolving the issue with one cortisone injection.

Benefits of Cortisone Injections 

Most people struggling with pain caused by inflammation often choose cortisone shots over other treatments. Here are the reasons why these pain relief shots have emerged as the preferred treatment for various acute and chronic conditions.

Targeted Pain Relief

Unlike medications and oral steroids which affect the whole body, cortisone shot is injected directly to the source of pain. This provides a more focused approach and minimizes side effects.

Reduced Inflammation

The core function of cortisone shots is to tamp down inflammation, the root cause of pain and stiffness in many conditions. By reducing inflammation, these injections can significantly improve your range of motion and overall function.

Improved Function

With reduced pain and inflammation, cortisone injections can help you regain mobility and participate more actively in daily activities. It can be especially beneficial for those struggling with everyday tasks due to pain.

Fast-Acting Relief

Unlike some medications such as blood thinners, which take time to build up in your system, steroid injections often provide relief within a day or two. This rapid action can be a lifesaver for those experiencing acute pain flare-ups.

Potential for Long-Term Pain-free Life

While not a cure, these injectibles can provide pain relief that lasts for weeks or even months, depending on the condition. The extended relief period can significantly improve your quality of life, saving the time and money you might otherwise spend on expensive treatments.

The Cortisone Injection Procedure: 4 Steps to Relieve Pain

Understanding what happens during the procedure can help alleviate any concerns and prepare you for what to expect. Here’s a step-by-step overview of the treatment:

1. Preparation

Before getting the steroid shots, you’ll have a consultation with your doctor to discuss your symptoms, medical history, and any previous treatments you’ve tried. The healthcare provider may also order tests like X-rays or MRIs to pinpoint the exact location of inflammation.

2. Pre-Injection Steps

The area where the injection will be administered is thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection. A local numbing medication may be applied to numb the skin and surrounding tissues, minimizing discomfort during the injection.

3. The Injection Process

The doctor will position you comfortably, depending on the injection site. For example, if the injection is for knee pain, you may be asked to lie down with your leg extended. For certain areas, such as the spine or deep joints, the doctor may use ultrasound or fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) to guide the needle precisely to the inflamed area.

The doctor inserts a needle into the targeted area and injects the substance. You might feel some pressure or a slight sting during the procedure.

4. Post-shot Care

After the injection, you may be asked to wait for a short period to ensure there are no immediate reactions. This allows medical professionals to monitor the effects. The doctor may apply a small bandage or dressing on the injection site for more relief.

Say Goodbye to Pain with Alliance Orthopedics!

You don’t deserve to live with the debilitating pain, as it affects your life and makes you less productive. Now, treating the inflammation doesn’t require invasive and costly surgeries, as you can opt for a steroid shot – a quick procedure for ultimate pain relief.

At Alliance Orthopedics, our team of experienced healthcare providers can help you determine if cortisone injections are the right treatment for your pain. We offer comfortable and personalized consultations at our state-of-the-art doctor’s office to ensure a positive experience.

Are you ready to take control of your pain and get back to enjoying life? Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get a cortisone shot.

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