The truth about cortisone shots

I know I’ve touched on the idea of how much I despise the awful garbage that is a cortisone injection.  My website is full of information about how truly awful this stuff can be, especially when you are using to try to “resolve” an injury.  I am using a lot of quotation marks in a very snarky presentation of how much I really hate the stuff.The words “cortisone shot” are listed so often on my website that when you do a Google search for “cortisone shot” in St. Petersburg, FL, guess who comes up first?

We do!

Which is great. I get at least one call a week from people asking if we do cortisone shots.  Everyone that calls gets the same explanation from me about the hazards and risks associated with getting a shot.  It usually goes something like this:

Pain is your body’s check engine light coming on and it’s usually a good idea to listen to that signal.  All the cortisone shot does is turn your body’s light off.  The problem is still there, you just don’t notice it or have the feedback.  You go back into activity and keep pounding away on dysfunctional structures, but you don’t know to stop because the check engine light isn’t coming on.  A few months down the road your engine (AKA your body) blows the hell up, leaving you with the question of why did this happen?

I usually end it there and have been working at a pretty good conversion rate on patients of about 10 percent of those that call, which is pretty high considering the instant gratification society we live in nowadays.

Going back to the question of why did this happen.  It happened for 2 reasons in my opinion.

  • Your doctor did a really lousy job of informing you of the ramifications of getting the shot, especially what can happen down the road. They made it seem simple. They just stick a needle in there and you will feel better right away.  Who really gives a shit about you a few months down the road?
  • You are a classic example of a misinformed patient. It really isn’t your fault at all. You trust that someone who has a medical degree will actually give you good advice and right treatment. Unfortunately, that always isn’t the case. The patient gets enticed by the idea that a “magic” shot can take away all the pain and make everything feel better. It will do all of that for a certain amount of time, but it does jack shit to fix any of the dysfunction.

You have been banging away on some really dysfunctional tissue and feeling pretty good, but now comes that tragic part.

One day that dysfunctional tissue blows the hell up.  Now you are a great candidate for surgery and that really sucks.  It sucks because all of that could have been avoided if you just listened to what your body was telling you, especially when it is in pain.

You only get one body, please take care of it and listen to it.

That extra mile or extra rep isn’t worth blowing everything up.  I beg of anyone considering getting a cortisone shot to please do me a favor and weigh all the options associated with it.  Ask the doctor about what cortisone truly does and the side effects associated with it.

You owe it to your body.