Imagine being at work with a tight deadline looming. Your boss is checking up on you every ten minutes to make sure you can complete the assignment on time. You just got a call that a pipe burst at your residence and your mother/wife called complaining about something. You look at the clock and there are 2 hours remaining in your deadline but you know you have 4 hours worth of work to do. Your heart begins to race and you start to sweat….
At this point, you know adrenaline has kicked in. But something else has also kicked in called cortisone. When your body gets stressed, pain is inflicted internally. The reason you are not throbbing in pain from stress is because cortisone is suppressing your immune system from reacting.
What is Cortisone?
Cortisone is a steroid hormone that our bodies produce under stress. It is produced in the adrenal gland and helps us recover from inflammation (bodies mechanism for pain). There are two basic forms of cortisone: the pill and the shot. For those of us that played sports, a cortisone shot is more common. Cortisone was usually given to reduce inflammation, pain and swelling so we didn’t look weak against our opponent. The desire to compete overcame our natural sense to recover when injuring joints (ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine and wrist). Lance Armstrong recently admitted to using cortisone to help manage pain during the Tour de France.
Cortisone Side Effects
There are always risks when you hamper with the body’s delicate chemical balance. Cortisone carries the following risks: starting with thinning or death of the nearby bone and tendon weakening or rupture. When using cortisone shots, you have additional risk factors such as deterioration of the cartilage within a joint, infection from injections, nerve damage, skin and soft tissue thinning around injection site and whitening or lightening of the skin around injection site.
For this reason, doctors typically limit the number of cortisone shots in a joint. The limit varies depending on the joint and the reason for treatment. In general, people with osteoarthritis or other noninflammatory conditions may be limited to four total cortisone shots per joint. People with rheumatoid arthritis may be limited to three or four cortisone shot per joint per year. If you take into account blood thinners, you may need to forgo blood thinner medications for several days before your cortisone shot, to reduce your risk of bleeding or bruising. Keep in mind that some dietary supplements also have a blood-thinning effect and the same precautions have to be taken.
Has cortisone helped your activities?