Should I Get a Steroid Shot?

Steroid shots (also known as Cortisone shots) are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. They’re most commonly injected into joints such as your ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine and wrist. The injections usually comprise a corticosteroid medication and a local anesthetic.

We are not opposed to steroid shots, sometimes they are a good option, but they’re usually used to treat symptoms, not to heal them.  Steroid shots can have some side effects as well.  They’re not good for the health of the joint.  They can cause joint and cartilage damage, and can even lead to a tendon rupture.  Steroid shots will offer short term relief, but it wouldn’t be our best recommendation.

Here’s a common story we hear at the office:  Someone gets a steroid injection, it helps for a while, but the problem comes back.  Once the pain is back, they’ll get another steroid shot, but now it only helps for a day or two, until finally, the injection doesn’t help at all.  They start to get worried that there is nothing they can do about their pain and now their only option is surgery.

We’ve seen many patients with this very same story do extremely well with a good physical therapy treatment plan. They not only treat their symptoms and get relief, but they stay that way, and are no longer dependent on going back for more steroid injections. They no longer feel the pain and are back doing the things they enjoy most.

So how do you get a good physical therapy treatment plan?  First, find someone that specializes in your problem, whether it’s neck, back, knee, or a shoulder issue, and has a great track record treating problems like yours.

Be sure to find a well-trained Physical Therapist that will spend a good amount of one-on-one time with you, and not hand you off to a tech or assistant.

If you try this way, instead of taking a steroid shot you will have a much better chance at treating your pain, and you will be happy you did.