Far too often I hear athletes and active individuals say...
"I was told I just need a cortisone shot and I'll be fixed"
...Hearing this drives me crazy! Quite frankly because corticosteroid injections do not fix anything! They often make things worse. Let's take a closer look at why.
What is a Corticosteroid (cortisone) injection and how does it help with pain?
It's a medication which helps with inflammation and pain within a localized area. Many people receive these shots from their orthopedic doctor.
Does it help?
Clinically it does help with pain and inflammation in the short term. Which is exactly what the medication is used for. It however is not effective at permanently fixing the problem. The problem often "comes back worse" after the injection wears off. The medication is used to treat the symptoms and provides short-term relief to pain. The relief in symptoms however does not come without a cost!
What are the negative "cost" of Cortisone (corticosteroids)?
Corticosteroid injections actually inhibit the tissue from healing. This is counter productive to what you actually want to happen. You goal is to heal and fix your problem, not make it worse!
Corticosteroid injections actually decrease stiffness, decrease failure load, and decrease energy absorption of ligament or tendon. Once again this is a bad thing. Your tissue is now fundamentally weaker and more susceptible to injury (a more severe injury).
Corticosteroid injections actually decrease the strength of the tissue attachment sites to bone. Not only is the tissue itself weaker, the attachment is weaker also.
Decreased bone mineral density. The corticosteroid can decrease (weaken) your bones in the nearby area and it can possibly cause the death of nearby bones.
What does that mean for you? Common scenario seen in the active individual.
The athlete has pain so they go see their orthopedic provider and they receive the corticosteroid shot.
They have significant less pain, think they are "fixed", and continue with their exercises volume and often increase their volume and load because they feel better!
Though the symptoms are relieved, the actually problem is still present. Not only is the problem still present but the tissues (tendons, bones, ligaments) are fundamentally weaker, and you no longer can feel that there is an actually problem. Since you can no longer feel the pain, you no longer interpret that there is a problem.
Since you cannot feel that there is a problem you continue to load the weakened tissues (ligament, tendon, bone), which ultimately makes your problem worse, and sets you up to have a more severe injury in the future!
When the medication wears off, you are now left with more pain than you experienced before and are more limited than you were before the previous shot.
Your best solution:
Skip the injection. Resolve the Issue without injections or surgeries.
How do you solve your problem without Injections or Surgeries?
Identify the problem.
Identify the ROOT cause of the problem. (Hint: It's a movement problem, a volume/load problem, or often a mixture of both!)
Treat the problem while also fixing the root cause so you never have to deal with the issue again!
If you are currently experiencing pain and are unsure of if you should be worried or how to best resolve it, please send us a message by clicking here . We will help determine what your best course of action should be, and provide guidance for overcoming your pain!
Whats the solution for long term injury free training? Bulletproof your body by fixing your foundational movement patterns and building strength within those movement patterns!
Build resilience, lift heavy weight, run fast, run long, and live your life without pain or worry.
Here at Ground to Overhead Physical Therapy, we provide athletes the solution to their problem of not being able to train (live life) the way they want to due to pain and/or disfunction! We help athletes and the active individual return to the sports and activities they love without surgery, injections, or medications!
We do this with in person appointments for athletes local to our clinic (Chapel Hill and Cary).
Remotely, we help athlete through individualized training programs designed to resolve the athletes pain and achieve their goals. We coach the athletes through electronic communication, video analysis, and video calls; guiding them step by step along the process of eliminating their chronic-recurring pain.
Questions about the content within this post?
Interested in how you could eliminate your pain and improve your performance?
Contact me by clicking here!
Send me an email at Tancini@groundtooverheadphysicaltherapy.com .
I'll be happy to help!