If you have ever had chronic joint pain or are an athlete who has suffered an injury, you are probably familiar with cortisone injections. Cortisone injections have been used by doctors and sports medicine physicians for a long time to address issues with tissue damage, pain, and other symptoms. However, these injections can be risky, which is why many physicians are relying on more effective treatments like Regenerative Medicine. With the availability of cellular technology that powers Regenerative Medicine therapies, cortisone treatments are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
What are Cortisone Injections?
A cortisone injections is a common technique that can help relieve pain by reducing inflammation in a specific area of the body. Injections are typically prescribed and administered by a sports medicine doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or rheumatologist. They are commonly used to treat conditions like bursitis, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, gout, or other inflammatory conditions. A needle is inserted into the injection site and a small amount of cortisone is deposited. Cortisone is a substance that decrease the body’s natural inflammatory response and has been shown to reduce associated symptoms of pain and swelling. There is a period of downtime required after a shot is administered (typically around 48 hours) and it is often recommended to ice the area to reduce acute pain and inflammation from the injection. Results from a cortisone injection include relief from pain that last a few months before needing repeat injections.
What are the Side Effects of Cortisone Injections?
Patients who receive frequent cortisone shots may experience a range of side effects, including:
- Osteoporosis (may stimulate as much as 8% bone loss in as little as 4 months)
- Cataracts from low doses delivered for 1 year
- Possible elevated blood sugar levels
- Possible suppression of the immune system and the body’s ability to fight infections
- Cartilage damage
- Damage to tendons that can cause them to weaken or even rupture
- Joint issues such as inflammation or increased pain
- Nerve damage
How is Regenerative Medicine different?
Regenerative Medicine uses a different approach to relieve joint pain by healing joint tissues all together. Regenerative Medicine therapies use the body’s own healing mechanisms to repair and regrow at the cellular level. This can help joints heal from an injury, reduce inflammation, and fight apoptosis (cell death). One effective type of treatment, Platelet Rich Plasma, involves the injection of the body’s natural healing mechanisms that can lead to an immediate reduction in pain and improved mobility with little to no downtime.
Instead of temporarily subsiding joint pain through cortisone injections, Regenerative Medicine seeks to address the underlying cause of joint discomfort by bringing new life to the damaged tissues in the body. This can help alleviate long-term pain without the need for repeat treatments that can cause more damage to surrounding tissues.
Science has come a long way in discovering new advances and treatment options to help enhance patients’ quality of life, especially when it comes to joint pain. Regenerative Therapies are just one example of new techniques that can help patients avoid ineffective procedures and feel better for longer.