This week's question
I have a pain similar to something I've had in the past, I had a cortisone shot then to help with the pain, should I get another shot now?
My answer - Cortisone shots for some people may seem like the "magic drug" and for the pain of a little injection can immediately take pain away. Professional athletes occasionally will get them on the sidelines of a game to go back in and continue playing on an injury.
However, they are not the "all good, easy fix" that they may seem to be, and if your livelihood doesn't depend on you getting back out on the field, you may want to think twice about some longer-term, but safer, fixes to pain you can have.
First of all, for people with certain autoimmune and autonomic conditions, cortisone can send them into a "flare" of sorts without their body being able to regulate. Second, continued use of cortisone has been shown to accelerate the degradation of cartilage in some people. So, you may be fixing the pain for now but putting yourself at risk of more/worse pain in the future.
Now, this is not to say that cortisone shots are "always bad" or that I never recommend or support them, however, if you haven't tried at least a few conservative measures, I would absolutely recommend trying that before jumping to a cortisone shot.
What are the conservative measures you might ask? Well, that depends on the person and injury, but generally involves some combination of movement modification, specific exercise, manual therapy, or in some cases taping or bracing.