Cortisone is a steroid hormone used to treat a variety of conditions. It
suppresses the immune system, which can help reduce inflammation and any
pain and swelling that may be at the site of an injury. Doctors might
use it to treat something like muscle or joint pain, as it can suppress
localized inflammation for anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. However,
in the long term, it does have some consequences.
If you take it orally, cortisone can have potential systemic side-effects,
including hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, depression,
anxiety, osteoporosis, cataracts, fluid retention, memory problems, weight
gain, and glaucoma. If inhaled, it could cause a fungal infection in the
mouth or result in hoarseness. If used topically, the cortisone could
lead to thin skin, red lesions, and acne. And, if injected, cortisone
can cause thin skin, loss of color in the skin, facial flushing, insomnia,
and high blood sugar.
Long term use is typically not recommended, largely as a result of the
extensive side effects. For better, long-term relief, many physicians
will recommend physical therapy to stretch and strengthen, muscles, joints,
and other soft tissues. Other lifestyle changes could be recommended as
well, such as weight loss or changing footwear. These other treatments
can often improve a joint’s biomechanics and possibly decrease pain
or eliminate the need for cortisone shots altogether.
Those who do get cortisone shots to treat joint pain may eventually notice
the periods of relief become shorter and shorter over time. This shortening
isn’t due to tolerance to the medication but is rather the result
of the joint degrading. Physical therapy, weight loss, and changes in
lifestyle might be recommended to slow down or stop this degradation.
Likewise, cortisone shots can take a few days to take effect. After the
injection, your doctor may advise you to rest and cut down on regular
activities. Once your joint pain is relieved, you may be tempted to resume
your typical activities; however, the damage is still there, just masked.
Your doctor will likely advise you to continue physical activity gradually
and add intensity over time.
If you’d like help creating a
physical therapy routine tailored specifically to you, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
ProFysio Physical Therapy is one of the premier providers of physical rehabilitation in New Jersey,
and we are the only fellowship trained therapists in Monmouth County.
Let us see what we can do for you. Call us at (732) 333-6360 to schedule
a free initial consultation today.