Steroid injections are commonly known as a corticosteroid. They are anti-inflammatory medicines. These injections are used to treat a broad range of conditions, including arthritis. Steroid injections can not treat the underlying cause of your condition. But they treat the symptoms. These injections help reduce joint inflammation and preserve joint structure and function. Although steroid shots are effective, they also cause severe side effects. In this article, we will discuss the conditions corticosteroids treat and the associated risks and side effects.
What Conditions Do Steroid Injections Treat?
Healthcare professionals use corticosteroids to treat various conditions. These conditions include:
How Are Steroid Injections Given?
Steroid medications are available in various forms. They are given systemically to the patient. Specialists will decide whether it is injected throughout the body or locally to the precise point where a problem exists.
Corticosteroids are given through a muscle, vein, or mouth. In some cases, they can be directly injected into joints, bursae, or around tendons or other soft tissue areas.
Steroid shots are injected with a syringe and a small needle into the targeted area. A doctor provides local anesthesia to the patient. A person may feel chronic pain depending on the location of the injection.
How long do steroids take to work?
Corticosteroids take a few days or sometimes hours to start working. But its effect usually disappears after a few months. It can last longer if used with other medications and treatment options.
When should steroid injections not be used?
Doctors do not recommend corticosteroids if a person has an infection anywhere in the body. Moreover, a doctor gets the patient’s joint fluid for testing before the joint is injected. If it is already damaged, steroid injections are not likely to provide any relief.
If a person has a bleeding problem or takes anticoagulants, the steroid shots may cause bleeding at the injection site. For such patients, injections are given with great precaution.
Frequent and repeated use of steroids can increase the risk of weakening tissues in the treated area. Studies suggest that they should not be given more than three or four times a year.
People should also avoid having steroid injections if they have diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, liver, kidneys, or heart problems.
What Are the Benefits of Steroid Injections?
Local injections are generally less likely to cause severe side effects than other kinds of steroid medications. They reduce joint inflammation and help preserve function. Steroid shots may help avoid the need for oral steroids as they could have more significant side effects.
What are the Potential side effects of steroid injections?
Steroid injections are one of the most effective ways to decrease pain and improve function. But excessive and frequent injections into the same site can cause the bone, ligaments, and tendons to weaken. Some other side effects of corticosteroids include:
- Prolonged pain around the injection site.
- Increase appetite
- Allergic reactions
- High blood pressure
- Bruising around the injection site
- Local bleeding.
- Facial flushing
- Rupture of a tendon
- High blood sugar
- Tendon rupture
- Skin discoloration
Corticosteroid can be an essential part of a treatment plan for many autoimmune and joint diseases. Depending on the condition under treatment, several other medications can also be prescribed by the doctor.
After getting a steroid injection, consult with your doctor immediately if you experience a severe headache or develop an infection at the injection site.