Severe inflammation in the body is the main cause of many serious diseases. Steroid injections are used to treat this inflammation when it is in the upper extremity. Some of the examples of these serious ailments include trigger fingers, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, tennis elbow and rotator cuff tendonitis.
Steroid injection are made up by combining synthetic cortisone and a local anesthetic like lidocaine and bupivacaine. The production of cortisone takes place by the adrenal gland which is anti-inflammatory in nature. Some other synthetic preparations that are also available are triamcinolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone. All of these are called by their trade names. Although they vary in the strength and duration of action but passes through similar mechanisms. It totally depends on an individual to choose any formulation as no formulation is superior to another. But all these steroids that are anti-inflammatory in nature are different from those that are used by athletes for body building and for improved performance. All these steroid injections are accompanied with a local anesthetic as it dissolves the steroid and anesthetizes the area of the injection so that discomfit can be avoided or reduced.
Procedure of steroid injections:
The first step to give steroid injection is that the area where the injection has to be given is cleaned with the help of an antiseptic like salty water, alcohol and disinfectants of skin cleaning. Then a small needle is used for injection. Usually, a very small amount of steroid and anesthesia is given .After then, the injected area is covered with an adhesive or gauze bandage.
Results and duration of results:
All steroid injection give effective results within a few days and the benefits stays for some weeks. But the exact duration of the effect varies from person to person. In some conditions, one injection is adequate for relief while in some chronic cases of pain and inflammation, more than one injection is required. Most of the patients respond well to injections while a small number of patients do not experience any relief.
Number of injections:
Although there is no fixed limit on how many steroid injections can be safely given to a person. But many doctors recommend giving three doses as a rule of thumb, while in rare cases, frequent injections are required. The response to the first dose of injection figures out whether one should go for another two series of injection or not as if there is no result from first injection then re-injection is not worthwhile. This limit on steroid injections is required as multiple injections may damage to tendons.
- Steroid injections often have side effects. When the steroid crystallizes inside the body then it leads to cortisone flare. This flare is followed by pain that lasts for one or two days after giving the injection. This pain is worse than the initial pain for which purpose the injection was given. These flares resolves over a few days and one can treat them with the help of ice and immobilization.
- Skin discoloration is another side effect of the use of steroids. This problem is more visible in people with darker skin tones. The skin discolors at the injection site. These changes sometimes become temporary.
- One of the serious complications that may arise from steroid injection is infection when it is given to joints. This problem can be prevented by properly cleaning the area where the injection has to be given. Some people experience allergic reactions to the use of steroid and anesthesia.
- An unstable change in the glucose level is observed post giving a steroid injection in diabetes patients.
Need to call health care provider:
So if you have got a steroid injection and the injected area is changing color and the temperature of your body is more than 101° orally then there is chances that infection has taken place. You should call your health care provider in such cases.
You should call your health care provider in such cases.