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Steroid / cortisone injections

One of the main groups of Corticosteroids, 'glucocorticoids' (e.g. cortisol, cortisone and corticosterone), are essential for a normal response to stress and for the utilisation of carbohydrate, fat and protein by the body.

Naturally occurring and synthetic glucosteroids have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects and are used to treat conditions that involve inflammation as is the case with many RSI-type conditions.

Corticosteroids act on the immune system by blocking the production of substances that trigger allergic and inflammatory actions, such as prostaglandins. However, they also impede the function of white blood cells which destroy foreign bodies and help keep the immune system functioning properly. The interference with white blood cell function yields a side effect of increased susceptibility to infection.

As cortisone injections can be tricky to administer, they should only be administered by a skilled practitioner. Anesthetic such as lidocaine or Novocain is given to numb the area. The injection is then given and pain relief should be felt almost immediately. Cortisone injections can be useful in the treatment of an inflamed bursa, which may be irritated by other treatments.

However, it is important to bear in mind that the injections tend to give short term pain relief and often can be very painful when administered.