Several of our patients tell us that they get cortisone shots to treat their painful shoulder, hip, or back. But most people don’t know that cortisone shots don’t treat the cause of their pain.
‘ What!? My pain went away for months when I got a shot of cortisone’. Yes, our patients tell us that they sometimes get relief of their symptoms after an injection. But think about this example: If your dentist finds a cavity, the dentist will give you a shot to numb the pain while he drills out the cavity…..But what if your dentist just gave you the injection and did nothing else? That would be like getting a shot of cortisone because cortisone does not change the underlying reason that you are having a painful, shoulder, hip or back. Cortisone just covers up the pain you feel, while doing nothing to change the real cause of your pain.
What Cortisone Does
So what does cortisone do that makes people feel better? Cortisone lessens painful inflammation. But cortisone lessens inflammation at the expense of suppressing your immune system and increasing your blood sugar level. People on cortisone increase their chances of infection and diabetes while not making any change in the reason that they had pain in the first place.
Isn’t decreasing inflammation good? Yes and no. Inflammation is actually one of the necessary steps in healing and the point at which cortisone (and Advil and Aleve) decrease inflammation is before healing has a chance to happen. Decreasing inflammation with nutrition like vitamin C, anti-oxidants or turmeric does help healing to occur.
Common causes of shoulder, back and hip pains
As doctors of chiropractic with 38 years of experience we have learned about many reasons that people develop shoulder, hip or back pain symptoms. Some of the most common reasons include poor posture, muscle imbalances, trigger points from over-used muscles, stuck joints and flat-feet. Any of all can be why people develop shoulder, hip or back pain. Cortisone shots change none of these true causes of pain a. Until these root causes are improved by a combination of hands on care, stabilization exercises, orthotics and good nutrition, shoulder, hip or back pain will keep coming back. Even when the injection seems to ‘work’ to reduce pain, the causes above are not addressed. The cortisone shot can also decrease your immune system response to resist infection while it increases your likelihood of high blood sugar and diabetes.
If you want to avoid the downsides of cortisone and fix the real reasons behind your shoulder, hip or back pain give us a call. Because now is not the time to depress your immune system for a treatment that does not fix the real reasons behind your pain.