Understanding the Impact of a Leading Arthritis Treatment
If you experience knee pain because of arthritis, your doctor can prescribe you a number of options: physical therapy, medication, injections, and even surgery. It all depends on the details of your specific diagnosis.
Because there is no known cure for any form of arthritis (including osteoarthritis), doctors find many patients are able to manage their symptoms — even if only temporarily — with cortisone shots. As the most common path of treatment to relieve arthritis pain, these injections contain corticosteroids, a drug that mimics hormones that naturally occur in the body to reduce inflammation. By injecting a corticosteroid into arthritic knee joints, doctors can lower knee pain and increase mobility in patients for weeks, sometimes months.
How Often Can I Get a Cortisone Injection?
In general, because of the risks associated with cortisone injections, doctors recommend patients should not receive injections more often than every twelve weeks, no more than three or four times annually in any single joint, and no more than six a year for your entire body.
That said, every person is different, and the number of cortisone injections your doctor recommend will vary, depending on such factors like your overall health and pain tolerance.
Can I Take Corticosteroid Pills on Top of Injections?
Taking corticosteroid tablets on top of injections greatly increases your risk for adverse side effects. Additionally, taking a corticosteroid orally instead of injecting cortisone at the site of the ailing joint reduces the pain relief you might experience. The pill is a broadband treatment for the entire body, one that does not address the specific area in pain. There are also more potential side effects and risks to oral steroid use.
Side Effects of Cortisone Injections
Cortisone injections, like many treatments, have their side effects despite great benefits. These health risks include:
- Weakening and suppression of the immune system
- Weakening or rupture of tendons
- Thinning and weakening of skin, soft tissue and bone
- Bone death due to lack of blood circulation
- Temporary joint pain and inflammation
- Cartilage deterioration
- Joint infection
- Nerve damage
Patients put themselves at greater risk for contracting these side effects if they receive cortisone treatments more often than their physician recommends. Additionally, many doctors are hesitant to give cortisone shots to diabetic patients, due to the drug’s ability to raise blood sugar levels.
Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Cortisone Injections
While cortisone injections provide temporary relief for your arthritis pain, it’s important to remember that they don’t restore lost cartilage or slow the progression of osteoarthritis. To learn more about cortisone injections, Contact Arthritis Relief & Vascular Centers today to schedule a free consultation!