Quarterzone? Cortisone? What is it anyway?
Here’s my opinion regarding a common misconception about Cortisone (or, Quarterzone as lots of people mispronounce it!)
There are a few different types of anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone is just one type.
Cortisone (not quarterzone) is a type of steroid. This particular type of steroid causes a decrease in inflammation (swelling) when administered properly. However, this type of steroid will not cause you to bulk up like Arnie.
Cortisone tablets and injections have been widely prescribed in recent years for annoying and long lasting aches and pains of the musculoskeletal system. Lots of my patients have had an injection at some time previously.
Unfortunately, they aren’t always useful. Cortisone injections will be successful if two conditions are met:
- The injections targets the precise area of inflammation
- The inflammation is acute (hot, swollen, red) and not chronic (low grade swelling, long term irritation of the area often with associated degeneration)
Unless these issues are addressed, it is likely that the injection may only be a band aid solution and the pain will return.
Even with ultrasound guidance (ultrasound scanning showing the way for the needle), sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the inflamed area to a tee.
Often, people who are sent for injections will have entered the “chronic” part of their inflammation, and as such, the injection will be less useful or efficacious.
Also, too much steroid into one area, especially with repeated injections, may lead to weakening of the bone or tendons close by, causing further damage.
So, how do you know if a Cortisone injection will be helpful for you?
I would usually consider a Cortisone injection in someone with severe, hot, swollen, painful injuries that are being prevented by their pain to do their rehab properly.
Recently, my dad has had shoulder tendinitis, which requires lots of exercise to fix. Unfortunately, he can’t quite do the exercise properly as his pain stops him. I’ll be sending him for an injection not as a solution to his problem, but as an aid to make his rehab more comfortable.
Usually, there will be reasons as to why the injury is there in the first place. Unless these issues are addressed, it is likely that the injection may only be a band aid solution and the pain will return.
Like any pharmaceutical intervention, Cortisone has definite pros (such as reduction in pain and swelling, allowing less pain whilst undertaking rehabilitative exercise) and con’s (potential side effects). Your GP will be able to help you ascertain if a cortisone injection is appropriate for you.
If you have any questions regarding Cortisone injections, please comment below!
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