Why do cortisone injections work sometimes and not other times?

Why do cortisone injections work sometimes and not other times?

Or perhaps the injection never worked in the first place.

This is a really common question we hear from patients all the time.

A cortisone injection uses a really strong anti-inflammatory medicine. It then injects it into a structure that may be inflamed.

Cortisone injections are often prescribed purely off a scan report. The problem with this is that scan reports aren’t always accurate of what is causing the pain.

We know from heaps of research that things like tendon tears, arthritis, disc bulges and so on are seen just as often on the scans of people with pain as they are on the scans on people without pain. This means we can never truly rely on a scan report to tell us what is wrong.

What needs to happen is that we have to do a thorough assessment and then match our findings with the scan. This means getting to understand how the pain started, when it hurts, where it hurts, what eases it and so on. Then you need to do specialised tests to form the whole picture.

For the things that do well with a cortisone injection it is incredibly obvious after doing the assessment. In fact it is so obvious that a scan is only needed to tick the medicare boxes to get the injection.

So why do injections sometimes not work or work once and then not again?

Nearly all the time it’s due to not doing a complete assessment but instead hoping the report has it right.

And even if you’ve had a similar pain before and an injection has helped you still need to do the full assessment to make sure that diagnosis is still true. As over time other things can happen and sometimes our memory of exactly where the pain was and felt like can be a bit hazy.

If this blog has triggered any questions I’d love to hear them. Please get in touch with us on (07) 4999 9773 so I can help you.

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