Steroid injections can be a quick and effective treatment for soft tissue conditions, joint pain and inflammation, although the improvement is usually temporary.
Preparation & Injection
Your doctor or nurse will talk to you about the most appropriate steroid mixture and dose for you. This will depend on your condition and symptoms. They may want to check your blood pressure and blood sugar levels before your first injection as steroid injections can cause these to rise. They might delay the injection if either is raised.
Depending on where the pain and inflammation is, steroids can be injected:
• directly into an inflamed joint, this is known as an intra-articular injection
• into the soft tissue close to the joint, which is called a peri-articular injection
• into a muscle, which is called an intra-muscular injection.
Most injections are quick and easy to perform. They will be carried out by a healthcare professional in a hospital, clinic or doctors’ surgery. You may need an ultrasound scan to find where the inflammation is, so the steroid can be injected into a precise spot and have maximum benefit. An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of a body.
Many injections can be given without the need for ultrasound. Sometimes you’ll be given a local anesthetic with the steroid to reduce the discomfort of the injection. This would mean your pain should be relieved within minutes.
The effects of local anesthetics can wear off within half an hour, unless you’ve been given one that is long acting. You may have some numbness from the anesthetic that could last up to 24 hours