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why steroid injections wont always heal your shoulder pain scaled

Why steroid injections won’t always heal your shoulder pain

Does your job involve repetitive overhead activities – like painting or construction work –  that has you feeling pain and tenderness in your shoulder? Or are you experiencing numbness and tingling in your arm or hand after a recent fall?

You might have a rotator cuff injury.

If you’re thinking about getting a steroid injection to help with the pain, keep reading. You might discover it could cause more damage. And that there’s a simpler (and effective) solution to your pain.

First things first, what is a rotator cuff?

It’s the group of four muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place, and allows the lifting movement in our arm when we reach upwards. The muscles form a cuff around the upper arm, hence the name.

The rotator cuff can tear suddenly as a result of injury, such as falling, or over time due to repetitive activities.

If you’ve sustained a rotator cuff tear, you’re not alone

Rotator cuff tears are said to be the most common cause of shoulder pain.

Regardless of whether you’ve sustained an acute tear (through injury or trauma) or a chronic tear (gradually), sufferers describe the pain as a deep, dull ache in the shoulder. It can limit your ability to move your arm and prevent you from sleeping on the injured side.

Cortisone or no cortisone, that is the question

In most cases of a rotator cuff injury, the first course of treatment involves physiotherapy – but more on that later. More severe tears may require surgery.

Then there’s the debate of the efficacy of steroid injections. Cortisone injections are used to alleviate inflammation. But do they work?

One recent study suggests cortisone may lessen the discomfort but the relief may be temporary. It may also weaken the tendon tissues and make them more prone to tearing.

Other studies demonstrate that cortisone is ineffectual for those who will later require repair surgery, even suggesting the injection could impair healing.

Physiotherapy can decrease your rotator cuff tear symptoms

There are reports that physiotherapy offers the same outcomes as surgery. Why? Because effective physiotherapy treatment can help balance and strengthen the four muscles around the shoulder that form the cuff.

Your physiotherapist may recommend taping the shoulder to support the tendons initially when starting a beneficial exercise regime, shockwave therapy, or prescribed at-home exercises to help get back your range of motion and shoulder function.

But be patient. It can take several weeks before you’re able to return to most activities.

Looking for a shoulder physiotherapist?

New Age Physiotherapy has an experienced shoulder physiotherapist on staff to assess the best action plan for your injury – and avoid unnecessary steroid injections.

Book in for a personalised consultation and an accurate diagnosis to put an end to your shoulder pain and discomfort.

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