Thanks for pointing me to that NYT blog. In all of my posts I advocate physical therapy first. The topic of cortisone injections is always a popular one. As Gretchen Reynolds mentions in her blog, it’s probably because the injections provide “a magical, immediate effect against pain.” The research and my experience tell me it does in fact provide quick pain relief. But members of the healthcare community, including physical therapists, have to provide the best information to patients about how that quick, magical injection can ultimately affect overall recovery and their condition in the future. On the order of tendinopathies, I wouldn’t recommend it, based on research and science related to how it affects collagen, as I mention in this post. The NYT post mentions tennis elbow and I have written about this topic previously, where I also mention evidence that shows poorer long term outcomes for those who have been injected. http:///tennis-elbow-or-is-it/1075/
This post does need an update and I’ll be writing one so there isn’t any confusion.
How often cortisone injections are given varies based on the reason for the injection. This is determined on a case-by-case basis by the health care practitioner. If a single cortisone injection is curative, then further injections are unnecessary. Sometimes, a series of injections might be necessary; for example, cortisone injections for a trigger finger may be given every three weeks, to a maximum of three times in one affected finger. In other instances, such as knee osteoarthritis, a second cortisone injection may be given approximately three months after the first injection, but the injections are not generally continued on a regular basis.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about cortisone. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using cortisone.