What are steroid injections?
Firstly, “Steroid” is short for corticosteroid, which is different from the hormone-related steroid compounds that some athletes use.
Also, you may hear them called cortisone injections, cortisone shots, steroid shots, or corticosteroid injections.
Third and most importantly they can treat many kinds of inflammatory conditions.
How Are Steroids Given?
Steroid drugs come in several forms that differ in how easily they dissolve or how long they stay in your body.
Your doctor may give you steroids throughout your entire body (called systemically) or
only in an affected area (called locally).
For instance, you might get systemic steroids:
- Through a vein (intravenously, or IV)
- Into a muscle (intramuscularly)
- By mouth (orally)
Local steroids can come as:
- Skin creams
- Injections into joints, bursae (lubricating sacs between tendons and the bones beneath them), or around tendons and other soft tissue areas.
What Conditions Do Steroid Injections Treat?
Steroid injections treat problems such as:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Back pain
- Inflamed bursae (bursitis)
- Inflamed tendons near your shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, hand, or wrist (tendinitis)
Your doctor will consider your age,
your level of physical activity,
and other medications you’re taking when deciding whether to give you steroids.
Why Are Steroids Injected?
When your doctor injects steroids, they can deliver a high dose of medication directly to an inflamed area.
Furthermore, Oral or IV steroids don’t guarantee how much of the medication will reach the problem area.
Steroid injections are one of the most effective ways to ease pain, but they aren’t a cure for the problem.
How Long Do Steroid Injections Last?
In addition, pain relief from a steroid shot is different for each person.
It usually starts to work within 24 to 48 hours.
Steroid Injection Side Effects
Rarely, they can have side effects such as:
- Allergic reactions
- Ruptured tendon
- Changes in skin color
- Mood changes
Not everyone will have side effects.
Also, you’re less likely to have them if you wait more than 3 or 4 months between injections.
In conclusion, the effect can last several weeks or more.