Approximately 50 million people in the United States deal with chronic pain. That accounts for over 20% of the population.
Chronic pain is also one of the leading causes of disability. Over $80 billion a year is lost because of chronic and disabling pain.
Cortisone injections are a recommended option for pain management. It can lead to quick and long-term relief, which allows you to get back to living your life.
If you are dealing with the difficulties of managing your pain, then keep reading on and learn more about seven things to consider before getting a cortisone injection.
1. Where Is Your Pain?
Cortisone injections work by using a needle for delivering the cortisone. Since cortisone is a steroid, it acts as a strong anti-inflammatory. The thought behind these injections is that by reducing inflammation, you provide pain relief.
This is an important concept to understand. If you have higher pain in one area of your body, cortisone injections work great. That is not to say there aren’t some widespread benefits of cortisone. However, it tends to work better when targeting specific areas.
For example, do you have lingering back pain?
Almost eight percent of the population deals with back injuries or chronic back pain. A cortisone shot is one of the recommended courses of treatment for back pain. These injections also work well for arthritis, gout, or bursitis.
2. Diabetes and Cortisone
Do you deal with diabetes? If so, you should talk to your doctor before receiving a cortisone shot.
Cortisone has the potential of raising blood sugars. Keep in mind – these effects are usually only temporary.
After five days, your blood sugars should start returning to more normal levels. However, this shouldn’t be contraindicated for everyone. In fact, in some studies, they looked at H1A1C factors for determining cortisone injections.
If you had a factor higher than seven percent, practitioners advised against cortisone shots. Sometimes, the benefits of cortisone outweigh the risks. This is something you will have to discuss with your doctor first.
3. What About Side Effects?
Cortisone injections don’t have the same side effects that many other anti-inflammatory medications have. For example, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen run the risk of upsetting your stomach.
Long-term use of ibuprofen or acetaminophen is not advised. They can harm your stomach, liver, or kidneys. If you deal with an upset stomach, taking other treatment options, then you should consider an injection.
The only short-term side effects are typically soreness around the area. You may also deal with redness or slight swelling. These symptoms should disappear after a couple of days.
4. Long Term Pain Management
When you are looking at all of your pain management options, it is easy to skim over an injection. After all, how much can one cortisone injection do for you?
One study compared cortisone injections to other treatment options, like oral medications and physical therapy for frozen shoulder. The treatment group receiving a cortisone injection had better results between the 8 and 16-week marks compared to the other groups.
In those with trigger finger, up to 86% were cured after injections. People who receive a cortisone shot report positive benefits for months afterward. Some continue having pain relief up to 6 months after the injection.
5. Can You Get More Than One Shot?
One of the main risks with cortisone is that it can damage cartilage. When used sparingly, this risk is not very high.
However, increased use of steroid injections within a short time raises your risk. For that reason, it is not recommended that more than three to four shots be given in a year.
This theory becomes slightly controversial when discussing arthritis. The definition of arthritis stems from the loss of cartilage. For this reason, some physicians will provide more than the recommended amount of cortisone injections when treating arthritic joints.
6. Is This a Surgery?
This treatment is a non-surgical option for pain relief. When you go into the office, a medical practitioner will clean your skin first. This is usually done through an alcohol-based antiseptic wipe.
Next, you may receive some numbing spray or lotions prior to the injection. Sometimes, larger needles are necessary for removing fluid before injecting the cortisone. In this scenario, you might feel more pain with it.
If you are worried about this, ask your physician about using lidocaine with the cortisone. Afterward, there is minimal wait time. You are ready to head home, although some physicians advise having a friend or family drive you home just in case.
7. Insurance Coverage
One of the main questions people ask about treatments is if it is covered by their insurance. If you have Medicare, then Medicare Part B covers up to 80% of the injection cost. This is only applicable for outpatient procedures.
If you receive an injection while in the hospital, then your Part A coverage should still kick in. If you do not have Medicare, then check with your insurance provider on coverage.
Sometimes, a case is made that these injections are medically necessary. Insurance typically looks at these clauses for determining coverage. Finally, be sure to check with your clinic beforehand to see if they take your insurance.
Cortisone injections are useful pain management tools that can reduce pain, improve mobility, and help you enjoy life once again. Chronic pain makes it hard to enjoy hobbies, friends, and family.
If you have been struggling with finding the right treatment option for you, then don’t wait any longer. A cortisone shot can save you the headache of trying out different treatments.
Contact our clinic today and let us help you get set up with a cortisone injection.