If you’re suffering from arthritis or joint pain, you need relief. Often, primary care doctors refer patients with shoulder, knee, back, hip, or other pain for cortisone injections. They are commonly used, but are they the most effective treatment? Explore why cortisone is the go-to treatment, the potential side effects of the injections, and why regenerative medicine could be a better long-term solution.
Cortisone is a type of medication called a corticosteroid. Cortisone injections are used to treat inflammation caused by injuries or illnesses. Shots are injected directly into the painful joint. They are popular treatment options as the relief can be almost immediate and last for weeks or even a few months.
But the relief is usually temporary and requires additional injections. It’s with this repeated use the more serious side effects become worrisome. That’s why the number of cortisone shots are limited, usually to three or four a year. Side effects of repeated cortisone injections include:
- Potential joint damage. While cortisone can supply short-term relief, it can actually cause even more damage. According to Mayo Clinic, there’s concern that repeated cortisone shots might damage the cartilage within a joint.
- Weakening of the immune system. According to Cleveland Clinic, another reason cortisone shots are limited is because they can weaken your immune system. That’s how steroid drugs work, by lowering the activity of the immune system. So while your pain might be temporarily relieved, a weakened immune system could lead to other issues.
- Numerous other side effects: Cleveland Clinic also notes cortisone can cause osteoporosis, fluid retention, high blood pressure, alterations in mood, and increased blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
While cortisone injections can provide temporary, immediate relief of discomfort and inflammation, it doesn’t treat the root cause of your pain and could do more damage in the long run.
Regenerative medicine, on the other hand, focuses on restoring damaged tissue and helping the body heal itself. Regenerative therapy involves an injection of amniotic tissues, which provide pain relief by repairing diseased joints and regenerating damaged tissues. Two common injections include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and Wharton’s Jelly growth factors. Both injections treat arthritis and other diseases by stimulating the growth of new cells and restoring damaged tissue.
Unlike cortisone injections, the long-term side effects of regenerative medicine are minimal. Both procedures may cause mild discomfort at the time of injection, but with regenerative therapies, there are no worries about potential additional joint damage, weakening your immune system, or dealing with increased blood pressure or blood sugar levels.
In fact, Maragal Medical’s own Dr. Michael Marciello wants to share a message about why he chose regenerative medicine treatments after sustaining a severe ankle injury.
Repair Damage, Don’t Just Mask the Pain
At Maragal Medical, we offer regenerative medicine injections as an alternative to cortisone shots. They are safer and work to restore damaged tissue instead of potentially making your problem even worse after repeated use. If you’re currently dealing with arthritis or joint pain, contact Maragal Medical today and learn more about how regenerative medicine therapy can unlock your body’s ability to heal damaged and diseased joints.