Cortisone Injections

Corticosteroid (cortisone) injections are often used to decrease pain, swelling and inflammation.  This group of medications has very strong anti-inflammatory properties that can be targeted to a specific joint, bursa or other area of the body.  Please read the following Q & A and feel free to call our office if you have any further questions.

What medication was injected?

The injection you received today has a combination of local anesthetic and a steroid.  The local anesthetic – similar to novocaine – provides immediate pain relief that lasts for 5-10 hours and then “wears off,” much like an injection at the dentist’s office.

How long does it take for the injection to “work?”

You may not feel the benefit of the steroid until 3-5 days AFTER the injection, so it is not unusual to have continued discomfort—or even a slight increase in pain—for several days after your injection.

How long does the injection “last?”

Steroid injections last for a variable amount of time.   Some patients experience complete, permanent relief of their symptoms, while others have several weeks or months of relief.   Injections may also provide pain relief so that you can participate more effectively in rehab and/or physical therapy.

I had an injection yesterday, why is my pain worse?

Some patients experience a “flare” of pain one day after the injection.  This may be similar to, or sometimes worse than, the original pain.  Ice and anti-inflammatory medications (Advil or Aleve) are usually helpful.  These “flares” rarely last more than 24 hours.  Please call the office if increased pain lasts more than 3 days or if you develop visible swelling, redness or fever.