Joint injections are common managements of joint disorders such as osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis and other joint conditions that are used to manage joint pains and inflammation. Joint injections usually involve steroids that are more potent than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Steroids are naturally occurring hormones in the body that is produced by the adrenal gland. Steroids are natural anti-inflammatory chemicals that help people adjust with inflammatory conditions. Steroids are given as a medication in the form of corticosteroids that produce similar results with that of the natural steroids in the body.
Steroid injections usually provide more effective results in relieving inflammation and pain that is direct to the area affected unlike other oral anti-inflammatory drugs, when treatment from your Wesley Chapel chiropractor isn’t enough for your case. Steroid injections are effective; however, long-term use should be prevented because of the various side-effects of corticosteroids.
Before getting any treatments, the advantages and disadvantages of a specific management should be studied in order to have full information regarding it. Before getting a cortisone or steroid injection for your joint condition, here are the pros and cons of joint injections:
Why should you have joint injections?
Cortisone injections are highly recommended for people having joint pain and inflammation because of the following advantages:
- Provides a direct management for joint pain and inflammation
Injection of steroids in the joint enables to target the main area affected. Steroids are able to provide anti-inflammatory effects direct to the inflamed joint.
- Provides faster pain relief
Steroid injections also provide faster pain relief than oral forms of anti-inflammatory drugs. Joint injections allow the drug to be absorbed in the blood stream faster than oral medications. Oral medications tend to produce slower action because they need to pass the gastrointestinal tract and the liver first, which results to a first pas effect or the phenomenon where the dose of the drug is reduced. With joint injections, the drug does not need to pass the digestive tract making the action faster.
- Relieves moderate to severe pain
Joint injections are usually indicated for moderate to severe pain and inflammation that cannot be relieved by less potent anti-inflammatory drugs.
What are the disadvantages of joint injections?
Along with the advantages of steroid injections, there are also disadvantages of such, including:
- More painful
Since the medication is injected on the joint, it is generally more painful than taking oral anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients also need to receive more than one steroid injection so the tissue injury to the site of injection is more likely. Nevertheless, pain at injection is usually short-term.
- Steroids have various side-effects
Steroid injections usually cause various side-effects in the body. The corticosteroids injected in the joint may eventually reach the circulation and cause systemic side effects such as:
- Cortisone flares or development of severe pain in the joint
- Increased risk for infection
- Water retention that results in weight gaining
- Buffalo hump or presence of fat deposits in the back
- Moon faced
These side effects of steroids are usually prevented by proper dosing and careful use of steroid injections.
Steroid injections may cause side effects, but people who need the joint injections may also benefit from it. Physicians usually prevent the adverse side effects by careful dosing and avoiding regular injection of steroids. Patients getting joint injections should not worry about the side effects because these usually result from long-term use of joint injections.