What To Expect After Steroid Injections: How Long Does Pain Relief Last?

Pain, Pain Go Away

People with chronic pain often will try anything to find relief. Thankfully, a variety of treatment options can help decrease discomfort and inflammation. A pain management specialist may recommend a steroid injection for pain relief.

What are injections used for?

Steroid injections have been used for many years as a pain management tool. The shots won’t cure any underlying condition. However, an epidural steroid injection can significantly reduce the severity of many conditions, such as chronic back pain. This pain may be caused by arthritis, sciatica, bursitis, or other diseases.

How do the shots work?

The goal of a steroid injection is to reduce inflammation. Most of the time, a pain management specialist administers a local anesthetic along with the cortisone to minimize any pain from the shot. A steroid can be injected at the spine, ankle, elbow, hip, knee, or shoulder. Due to the anesthetic included with the steroid, most people feel almost immediate relief.

Is there any downtime?

Patients will need to protect the site of the injection for a few days. Doctors may recommend icing the area to relieve pain and inflammation. However, there is minimal downtime, and patients can return to work right away. The risk of infection from an injection is low; however, patients should always pay attention to any wound and make sure that pain or swelling is not increasing.

Does pain relief last?

In the first 48 hours after the injection, people may experience some discomfort as the anesthesia wears off. Usually, patients experience a small flare in inflammation of the affected area. However, within the next few days, patients experience positive effects and a decrease in pain.

How many injections will I need?

For many people, cortisone shots provide pain relief that lasts for several months. Often, patients schedule periodic injections at 6-month intervals to keep pain at bay. A pain management specialist may also recommend other interventions, such as physical therapy or pain medication, for extended pain relief.

Are there any side effects?

Many people can tolerate steroid injections with few side effects. The most common side effect of the treatment is temporary pain and swelling around the injection site. Some people may also experience some mild bruising or dimples around the area. Patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure may not be the best candidates for the treatment.

When to see a doctor

Any time chronic pain is disrupting daily life, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. There is no reason to grin and bear the discomfort. There are a variety of treatment options, including steroid injections, to help patients find relief.

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2020-06-30T13:14:03-05:00
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