advertisement

Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Cortisone Shots: Panacea for Pain?

What are the side effects of a cortisone injection?

A
Answer (Published 5/24/2002)

Updated on 6/22/2005

A cortisone shot may be recommended when more conservative measures - anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy - fail to relieve localized pain, usually in the joints or tendons. It can produce dramatic results and is believed to work by blocking the body's natural inflammatory response. However, the effects are temporary and do nothing for the underlying cause. Pain relief from the shot begins within a few days and may last for a few days or up to a month, but unless you address the cause, it will recur.

Related Weil Products
Bone and Joint Issues a Concern? - The Weil Vitamin Advisor has herbs and supplements that address bone and joint conditions, as well as other health problems. Get your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation today. Start now!

The shots are most often used to relieve pain due to tennis elbow and other sports-related injuries, joint pain from osteoarthritis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain due to a herniated disk. Sometimes, pain can be from muscular trigger points that refer pain into a joint, without the joint itself being a problem. If that's the case, a cortisone shot won't help.

A single shot is unlikely to prove harmful - the only side effect may be some pain due to the injection itself. However, repeated shots can lead to a number of serious side effects including weight gain, high blood pressure, cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, reduced immunity, increased risk of infection and long-term damage to an inflamed joint or tendon. These risks, coupled with the fact that the shots don't have any curative effect on the underlying problem, make them a poor choice for long-term treatment.

If your pain is due to a sports-related injury, your best bet is to consider whether you may have hurt yourself as a result of a weakness or improper training and do what you can to address these possibilities. Among the alternatives you can explore are acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, various forms of body work, and the use of natural anti-inflammatory agents such as ginger and turmeric.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet and save 30%. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Stay Connected with Dr. Weil
Promote the health of your body, mind and spirit - sign up for Dr. Weil's FREE newsletters today!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

 
Copyright © 2016 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here

  

Q & A Library



Q
Cortisone Shots: Panacea for Pain?

What are the side effects of a cortisone injection?

A
Answer (Published 5/24/2002)

Updated on 6/22/2005

A cortisone shot may be recommended when more conservative measures - anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy - fail to relieve localized pain, usually in the joints or tendons. It can produce dramatic results and is believed to work by blocking the body's natural inflammatory response. However, the effects are temporary and do nothing for the underlying cause. Pain relief from the shot begins within a few days and may last for a few days or up to a month, but unless you address the cause, it will recur.

Related Weil Products
Bone and Joint Issues a Concern? - The Weil Vitamin Advisor has herbs and supplements that address bone and joint conditions, as well as other health problems. Get your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation today. Start now!

The shots are most often used to relieve pain due to tennis elbow and other sports-related injuries, joint pain from osteoarthritis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain due to a herniated disk. Sometimes, pain can be from muscular trigger points that refer pain into a joint, without the joint itself being a problem. If that's the case, a cortisone shot won't help.

A single shot is unlikely to prove harmful - the only side effect may be some pain due to the injection itself. However, repeated shots can lead to a number of serious side effects including weight gain, high blood pressure, cataracts, diabetes, osteoporosis, reduced immunity, increased risk of infection and long-term damage to an inflamed joint or tendon. These risks, coupled with the fact that the shots don't have any curative effect on the underlying problem, make them a poor choice for long-term treatment.

If your pain is due to a sports-related injury, your best bet is to consider whether you may have hurt yourself as a result of a weakness or improper training and do what you can to address these possibilities. Among the alternatives you can explore are acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, various forms of body work, and the use of natural anti-inflammatory agents such as ginger and turmeric.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.