If you are suffering a great deal of pain in a specific joint, such as the knee or hip, you can get cortisone injections. The injection generally comprises a mixture of an anesthetic and cortisone. This type of treatment is commonly used to relieve the pain in joints caused by osteoarthritis. This is generally a very effective treatment and can relieve the pain for a few weeks up to several months. The duration of its effect depends on the type of cortisone used and how great the changes in the joint are. However, a cortisone injection should not be the first-line treatment used in the case of osteoarthritis. The first stage of treatment recommended instead for all osteoarthritis patients is exercise along with a physiotherapist.
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What is cortisone?
Cortisone is a hormone that is formed in the liver and kidneys. The substance sold as a form of medication is often hydrocortisone, which is chemically manufactured. This is often used as anti-inflammatory medication. This type of medicine is very often used to treat different allergic reactions. However, it can also be used for autoimmune diseases, such as SLE and psoriasis.
Is a cortisone injection effective in the case of osteoarthritis?
When cortisone injections are used with osteoarthritis, the main reason is to provide effective pain relief. This intervention should not be regarded as a treatment in itself, but should be combined with physiotherapy. If you had otherwise been in too much pain to exercise, you can get assistance for this from a physiotherapist. This is because personalized exercise combined with education is the first-line treatment recommended in the case of osteoarthritis.
There are studies available nowadays showing that regular cortisone injections can speed up the breakdown of the cartilage in the joint. This means that cortisone injections can actually aggravate osteoarthritis. On the other hand, using cortisone injections to be able to get started with physiotherapy is a good idea if your joints are otherwise too painful. If you don’t have the option to go and visit a physiotherapist in person, you can now also get treated for osteoarthritis online.
Read more about online osteoarthritis treatment.
How quickly do cortisone injections work?
The actual cortisone only starts working a few days after the injection. However, the anesthetic works immediately, but it only lasts for a couple of hours. During the time between the procedure and the cortisone starting to work, the joint may be tender and swollen. In that case, it may feel better to put something cold on the site.
When the injection has actually started working, it can provide pain relief for several weeks up to several months. There is very often enough time to make progress using physiotherapy.
Do cortisone injections have any side effects?
Side effects from cortisone mainly apply to cortisone in tablet form. An injection contains limited quantities, which means that it is not possible to overdose in the same way. In general, risks associated with cortisone injections are uncommon, but they can be severe. Any treatment requiring intervention in the body may result in infections. Cortisone injections are no exception to this. Infection symptoms are the joint becoming swollen, red, and hot, combined with a fever. If you experience these symptoms immediately after getting a cortisone injection, you should contact your health center.