14 Sep Why You Have Nothing to Fear from Steroid Injections
Steroid injections are fairly common as a treatment for pain. Unfortunately, steroids have a bad reputation thanks to athletes using a specific kind of steroid to enhance performance. We want you to know that you have nothing to fear from steroid injections. The way Lone Star Pain specialists utilize steroids is not at all like what athletes have done in the past.
Several Types of Steroids
To ease any fear you might have, let us explain exactly what you can expect from steroid injections. The first thing to know is that there are several types of steroids. Steroids used for pain treatment belong to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. These are synthetic versions of cortisol, a hormone that is normally made by the adrenal glands.
Corticosteroids are an effective pain treatment because they reduce inflammation and immune system response. They do so by responding to the biological stress your body experiences as a result of injury or illness. Corticosteroids are completely safe when administered by a physician.
Another common type of steroids are anabolic steroids. These are the steroids that athletes use to build muscle. They are synthetic forms of testosterone, a hormone that is naturally produced by the human body. Male bodies produce more of it, which is why men exhibit greater muscle mass.
Appropriate Uses for Steroids
For the remainder of this post, we will focus on corticosteroids. Lone Star Pain specialists may turn to steroids to treat a variety of conditions. They are a good choice for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, sciatica, numerous types of joint pain, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and more.
A patient with pain in the neck and shoulders may be treated with trigger point injections designed to reduce inflammation at the site of injury or illness. Another patient might be looking for relief from pain caused by a compressed nerve in the lower portion of the spine.
As pain specialists, our job is to isolate the source of the pain and then find a treatment. In many cases, steroid injections are an effective option.
What You Can Expect
Again, we do not want you to be afraid of steroid injections in any way. Our doctors will not attempt to coerce you into a treatment you are not comfortable with. That being said, we also want you to know what you can expect from steroid injections.
First understand that corticosteroids should only be administered by a licensed physician in his or her office. Before receiving injections, your doctor will explain the procedure to you and ask that you sign a consent form. You will then be given your injection. In some cases, ultrasound might be used to determine the best injection site.
Expect to experience at least some inflammation and pain around the injection site. You might also experience continued soreness for a few days thereafter. Cold compresses can help in the hours immediately following the injection.
Injection side effects can include bruising, flushing of the face, dimples around the injection site, and increased appetite. Headaches are rarely a side effect, but they do occur. Be sure to touch base with us if you experience headaches.
Finally, it may take a day or two for the full effects of the steroids to be noticeable. A typical steroid injection can provide relief for several months. When combined with other types of treatment, the benefits of steroid injection can last much longer.
Now you know more about steroid injections. You have nothing to fear from them. In fact, steroids could be the best option for managing your pain.