What about Cortisone Injections?

“I came to Advanced Myotherapy with a frozen shoulder after I fell over and injured it. The Physiotherapist originally treated it with a cortisone injection. After a short series of treatments, I am grateful to finally be able to move my shoulder again.” 

Mandy HunterCarlton Football Club

Cortisone injections are always a hot topic of discussion in the clinic. Often, we see clients who have dealt with chronic pain and opted for the cortisone injection hoping it would be their ‘magical cure’.  Unfortunately, too often the same clients report that aside from being a very painful and invasive procedure, the benefits are only mild and short-lived.

So, what is Cortisone? Basically, it is a synthetic version of Cortisol – a steroid naturally produced by your clever body. It acts as an anti-inflammatory to help treat ‘ITIS’ conditions. i.e. Bursitis, Epicondylitis, Tendonitis, Arthritis. It does this by suppressing the body’s immune and allergic responses.

For reasons not really understood this type of treatment is very hit and miss. It can depend on the individuals approach to their injury or how quickly they intervened, their overall health, the extent of inflammation, the list goes on. But as well as not being the miracle solution most people are hoping for; some nasty side effects have been reported.

Examples of these include muscle tendon degeneration, joint and cartilage damage and in very severe cases nerve damage and infection. It should also be noted that GP’s will never recommend more than 3-4 treatments in an area. This raises red flags.

So, what are we left with? From a Myotherapists perspective, a more conservative approach is always the best option. Understandably, people who have dealt with chronic pain don’t want to hear this answer because in their eyes they have tried it all, they’re probably fed up and want a quick fix solution.

A lot of research has been conducted over the last decade, comparing effectiveness of modalities such as Deep tissue frictions, Dry needle therapy and Massage to Cortisone injections. These modalities all used by Remedial/Myotherapists, have been found to be as effective if not more, at treating conditions such as Bursitis or Tendonitis.

The message we’re trying to convey here is – there are options. Cortisone may not work for everyone and there are some Cons on the list outweighing the Pro’s, but in conjunction with regular treatment with a Myotherapist, clients are getting wonderful results.

The difference is, an injection into your shoulder alone is not taking the time to understand your injury; why it happened, what muscles are inhibited, whether your injury is an overuse issue or the result of poor biomechanics.

by Kate MacInerney

by Kate MacInerney

Bachelor Degree of Human Movement & Advanced Dip Myotherapy