It seems cortisone injections are becoming more common, and more and more people are experiencing the benefits that you can get from one of these injections.

Firstly, what is a cortisone injection?

Cortisone is a corticosteroid injection, given directly into the joint or soft tissue that is causing pain. This medication is a powerful anti-inflammatory, that can give fast relief from inflamed muscles, joints, tendons and bursas.

Cortisone is often given alongside a local anaesthetic, giving very fast and significant pain relief, although the local anaesthetic only has an effect for up to a few hours.

When is a cortisone injection given?

Cortisone is often prescribed when an injury is:

  • Causing significant pain
  • Slow to improve, or
  • Continues for a long period of time, such as in long term back pain

It’s often used in:

  • Shoulder or hip bursitis
  • Long term back pain
  • Long term knee or ankle pain.

It may be given as the only treatment, hoping the single injection will be all it needs, or it may be given while the person is also seeking other treatment, such as physiotherapy.

Will a cortisone injection help me?

This ‘quick jab’ can be a tempting option, particularly when you’re still in pain after weeks, or months. Speak to your GP first if cortisone sounds like something you might need.

From the physiotherapist perspective, here’s my rule of thumb, when considering a cortisone injection (Please note: Seek individual medical advice for your specific injury):

If the injury happened because of a sudden trauma e.g. car accident or a fall, then cortisone on it’s own may be helpful.

If the injury happened in ANY OTHER WAY, cortisone on it’s own may provide some short term relief for a few weeks or months, although the injury will keep coming back until you address the reason the injury started in the first place. If the pain has been there for more than 4 weeks, you will also need the guidance of a physiotherapist, as you must go through a thorough rehabilitation program to properly recover and stop the injury flaring up again.

Do you have an ache that just keeps coming back? Our physiotherapists work closely with many clients with long term injuries, and may have the answer you need, to get you back to feeling great. You can book in to see one of our physiotherapists by clicking the link below.