Do you have chronic pain? Some common areas people have pain are their back, knee, neck, shoulder, hip, elbow and foot. Cortisone shots are sold as a quick fix, but they only provide relief for a short period of time and have been proven to actually be harmful. In this article we’ll discuss the side effects of cortisone shots and talk about a better option called Prolotherapy!
What is a cortisone injection?
A steroid injection is a common treatment your orthopedic doctor might offer for a chronic pain or injury. These high dosed steroids have a powerful effect that at best can reduce pain for a few months but no one discusses the side effects and downsides to using a dose of steroids 100,000 times stronger than what your body would naturally produce. At best these injections offer symptomatic relief but they can cause a great deal of harm making things worse in the long run. We’ll dive into those side effects below.
What are the side effects and downsides of cortisone injection?
Steroids Destroy Cartilage
Cartilage is the shock absorber at the end of your bones and is the area that arthritis (joint inflammation) affects. If you’ve been told you have “bone on bone” this is the area your doctor is referring to. The problem with high dose steroid injections is that we’ve known since 1951 that steroid injections actually destroy cartilage. So while a steroid injection can help reduce your pain, in the long term there is a clear tissue destruction that occurs.
A number of studies have showed that patients with knee arthritis who got steroid injections showed the exact same amount of improvement as patients who got a saline only injection. The patients who got the saline injection didn’t have cartilage loss like the steroid patients had.
Take away: steroids cause cartilage loss and tissue destruction and at best provide short term relief but are no better than a saline injection.
Steroids Increase Need for Joint Replacement and Increase the risk of infection
So steroids basically eat up cartilage. Studies also show that those patients who get multiple steroid injections have a higher instance of joint replacements. So another huge side effect of steroid shots is a higher chance of joint replacement. The problem with joint replacements is that studies clearly show about 2/3 of patients are no better after their joint replacement that they were before the replacement! So anything that accelerates the degeneration of cartilage and accelerates the need for a new joint is silly at best and bad medicine at the worst.
On top of that, steroid shots change the way our immune systems responds in areas that are injected. This can lead to a much higher chance of infection. When a knee or hip replacement becomes infected you could need up to 12 weeks of IV antibiotics. For some patients it might even require that their joint replacement is completely taken out and replaced with a new one.
Why should I avoid a cortisone injections?
Hopefully it’s now clear that steroids basically eat up your good tissues and weaken cartilage, ligaments and tendons. This can make pain worse in the long term and accelerate your need for major surgery.
Is there an alternative to cortisone shots? Yes! It’s called Prolotherapy
Dextrose prolotherapy is a treatment that helps to give your joints, tendons and ligaments a second chance at healing. Prolotherapy is is a treatment that uses an all natural injection for chronic musculoskeletal conditions, which include pain, injury and damage to muscle, tendons, ligaments, joints.
With Dextrose based prolotherapy the solution is injected into the soft tissue of an injured joint and acts as a natural irritant. This procedure sparks the body’s innate healing process by increasing inflammation in a controlled way to re-start the entire healing cascade.
The increased inflammation sends a signal to the body’s inflammatory-fighting centers to send increased volume of healing cells, platelets and specialized proteins and stem cells to the area. These cells stimulate repair and growth.
Why should I get Prolotherapy instead?
Prolotherapy is the most affordable and cost effective way to help spark your bodies natural regenerative process for pain relief.
When you’re dealing with chronic musculoskeletal pain like chronic low back pain, knee osteroarthritis, ligament and tendon issues, degenerative disc disease and other kinds of joint pain – your options are cortisone injections and potentially surgery (which all have HUGE downsides and no guarantee) or taking a different route and working with your bodies healing ability.
When working with a trained prolotherapist like Dr. Hanson in Tampa, FL you will receive a comprehensive musculoskeletal orthopedic exam to identify the structures that are generating your pain. Unlike most doctors, Dr. Hanson will then treat each and every tissue that is cause your pain and discomfort. This comprehensive approach assures you will have the highest chance for a positive outcome. The use of prolotherapy for osteoarthritis, neck pain, knee pain, back pain, si joint pain, elbow pain (tennis elbow), hip pain, and foot pain is well studied and very safe. Most patients notice a change in increase in their function (ability to stand longer, walk farther, more range of motion, etc) within a couple of treatments. When function is increased, pain levels decrease.
How Many Prolotherapy Treatments Will I Need?
This will be entirely dependent on the issues you are dealing with. After a comprehensive orthoedic exam, Dr. Hanson will give you a much better idea. Expect to need between 3-6 treatments that are spaced out 4-6 weeks. Most patients notice improvements after their first treatment.
How Much Does Prolotherapy Cost?
This will be dependent on the are the joints, tendons and ligaments that need to be treated. For a comprehensive treatment of most major joints, the cost of treatment is $300. Smaller areas like wrists, ankles, thumbs will cost less. Dextrose prolotherapy is significantly less expensive than other regenerative injection treatments like PRP and stem cell injections so it is a great starting place for most chronic pain conditions.
How do I find Prolotherapy Near Me?
The Next Step
Prolotherapy works by injecting natural substances into painful joints or muscles to create inflammation which then stimulates healing and regeneration. It may be especially helpful for those with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, bursitis, sciatica or other joint problems; post-surgical rehabilitation; back pain; headaches (including migraine); plantar fasciitis; tennis elbow. If you are experiencing pain and are looking for an alternative to cortisone injections or risky surgery then dextrose prolotherapy is an excellent option. You click the button below to schedule a visit with Dr. Hanson at Hanson Complete Wellness for prolotherapy in Tampa, FL.