Cortisone is a miraculous medication, one which can diminish chronic pain and restore a freer range of motion within minutes. But as chronic elbow pain sufferers will tell you, that relief may be short-lived, and can exact its own price over time.
Cortisone is a steroid, which means it can activate some of the body’s most powerful signaling mechanisms for healing. These can be especially effective for joint pain, including elbow pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and wrist pain, as well as specific diagnoses including bursitis and arthritis.
But cortisone’s power cuts both ways, and may eventually deteriorate the treated joint, by diminishing bone density and thinning soft tissues. Consequently many orthopedic surgeons such as myself use the shots sparingly, and always in concert with a more holistic rehabilitation effort which includes exercise, stretching, and restful recovery.
Bottom line: cortisone is a perfect example of short-term benefit, long-term harm. If you’re looking for a lasting solution to joint pain which won’t hamper your chances for a more lasting recovery, it’s wise to consider lifestyle changes and orthopedic surgery instead.