Whether cortisone injections are good or bad depends on further clarification of the question. Good or bad for what exactly?
Is it good for helping an injury heal?
What about pain relief?
For years I’ve had clients ask my opinion about them getting shots but I was never really certain about the facts. So I turned to the clinical researchers for some answers.
Here’s what I found out:
More Facts Regarding Cortisone Injections:
There are zero long-term benefits for herniated discs BUT they don’t seem to make you any worse either.
Cortisone shots not only increase long-term re-injury rates for tendon injuries, but the more shots you get, the worse off you are. Why? Things like tennis elbow were once believed to be caused by inflammation – tendonitis – but are now known to actually be degeneration of the tendon – tendinopathy. Cortisone degrades the tissue even further!
So What Should You Do?
Definitely see a physical therapist. In every study I read, physical therapy groups had the best long-term outcomes.
Already saw a therapist but not happy with the results? Ask around for recommendations and go see a different one.
Want to do something for your tennis elbow today?
Here’s my post showing you a tennis elbow treatment that has clinical research on its side.
References & Further Reading
Effect of Corticosteroid Injection, Physiotherapy, or Both on Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Unilateral Epicondylalgia
JAMA, February 6, 2013-Vol. 309, No. 5
Efficacy and Safety of Corticosteroid Injections and Other Injections for Management of Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials
The Lancet, November 20, 2010-Vol. 376, Issue 9754
NEJM, June 5, 1997-Vol. 336: 1634-1640
By Gretchen Reynolds, NYTIMES.COM