Cortisone Injections Specialist

Glenn M. Flanagan, MD -  - Interventional Spine & Pain Specialist

Naples Regenerative Institute

Glenn M. Flanagan, MD

Interventional Spine & Pain Specialist & Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine located in Naples, FL

Cortisone is a potent medication that can reduce inflammation and pain when other approaches are unsuccessful. Double board-certified pain management specialist Glenn Flanagan, MD, of Naples Regenerative Institute in Naples, Florida, recommends low-dose cortisone when this is the only option. Low-dose cortisone is still strong enough to help ease your pain but not as toxic as full-strength cortisone injections. To find out whether treatment with cortisone is suitable for your chronic pain condition, call Naples Regenerative Institute today or book an appointment online.

Cortisone Injections Q & A

What are cortisone injections?

Cortisone injections are a potential treatment for persistent musculoskeletal pain. Dr. Flanagan typically only uses cortisone injections when conservative treatments aren’t producing sufficient pain relief.

For back pain, epidural injections containing cortisone go into the epidural space that surrounds the dural membrane covering your spinal cord. Nerves branching off from your spinal cord spread through your body via the epidural space.

Another type of spinal injection containing cortisone is a facet joint injection. Facet joints link the bones in your spine and are prone to developing arthritis. Cortisone is also effective when injected into joints and soft tissues around your body.

Why might I need cortisone injections?

Dr. Flanagan might use cortisone injections to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions, including:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Radiculopathy (nerve compression)
  • Chronic joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Foot pain

These conditions usually respond positively to treatments like physical therapy. Prolotherapy, and regenerative medicine injectables like stem cells from bone marrow concentrate and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), can also help these issues, while avoiding negative side effects from cortisone. If you’re not feeling relief from your symptoms, or you’re finding it hard to stick with physical therapy because of your pain, cortisone injections may be worth considering.

Are cortisone injections safe?

Cortisone injections are a standard treatment in many orthopedic and pain management practices, so you’d think they must be safe. However, studies show cortisone can be toxic to tissues and cause necrosis (cell death), so Dr. Flanagan only uses it when other options aren’t successfully providing pain relief.

Receiving high doses of cortisone or having frequent cortisone injections increases the risk of you having issues such as:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Tendon tears
  • Ligament tears
  • Cartilage loss
  • Bone death (necrosis)
  • Accelerated aging

Dr. Flanagan offers low-dose cortisone injections that are less likely to damage the tissues than the standard, higher-dose injections.

What happens during a cortisone injection?

Before you have your cortisone injection, Dr. Flanagan numbs the injection site so you won’t feel any pain. He uses imaging technology to view live images of your spine, joints, or tissues that help ensure the needle’s accurate placement.

The cortisone has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that relieves pain and inflammation, often for several months and sometimes longer. Your injection might also contain a local anesthetic, which gives you several hours of complete pain relief.

To find out whether cortisone injections are the right option for your chronic musculoskeletal pain, call Naples Regenerative Institute today or book an appointment online.