Many of our patients have had a cortisone shot at one point or another. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory which helps to reduce pain in the area that its injected. Studies have shown however, that overuse of cortisone can lead to cartilage damage in joints and ultimately lead to more pain down the road. Doctors often limit how many injections a patient can have in a certain period of time due to the possible risks involved. For those who have chronic pain and get relief from these shots, this can be hard news to hear.
There is an alternative called prolotherapy. This therapy injects natural substances into the body which promote healing. These substances have been proven safe even in large amounts and because of this, multiple areas of the body can be treated at once. Studies have shown this therapy to be highly effective in relieving pain and without any side effects. One of two types of substances are used: those found in the body (bone marrow, adipose tissue, plasma) or dextrose which is very similar to d-glucose that is in your body.
Cortisone over-use has been studied for some time now. While the results do vary, we believe you should know what you’re having put into your body. Hyaluronic acid is a great tool to repair cartilage in our joints like knees, elbows and shoulders but damage from cortisone can not be repaired by this method. The following chart shows other differences between prolotherapy and cortisone injections.
If you are considering getting cortisone injections or are looking for a safer alternative to those you are already getting, please look into prolotherapy. If you have further questions, ask the doctor on your next visit.