Doctors recommend cortisone shots for all manner of aches and pain. In fact, there are more than 9 million cortisone injections performed a year!
From herniated discs, joint problems, and even allergies, some people respond well to cortisol injections.
However, you might wonder what it means to “get a cortisone shot.” And, if your medical practitioner recommends it, can you also continue with chiropractic treatment?
In this article, we’ll attempt to answer your most important questions about what to expect from a cortisone shot in the lower back and how it can help your lower back pain.
First, what is a cortisone shot anyway?
What is a Cortisone Shot and What Does It Do?
Cortisone is a corticosteroid which is a type of drug meant to lower inflammation in your body.
Inflammation, as you probably know, relates to your body’s attempt to fight disease. Inflammation is your body’s natural defense mechanism designed to heal your body.
You may feel a throbbing pain in the area. That’s a cue that your “inner pain warriors” are working hard. The problem occurs when your body continues fighting pain so you always have inflammation. Too much can damage your organs and tissues throughout your body.
So, if you have chronic lower back pain from stenosis, a herniated disc, or other problem, a cortisone shot can help reduce the inflammation.
It’s an injection of cortisone directly into or near the painful area. Often, there’s an anesthetic, too, which gives immediate relief.
Afterward, your doctor might tell you to rest for the next couple of days, ice the area as needed, and let them know if you feel pain or have swelling or another discomfort.
However, there’s concern that these injections may damage the cartilage in the joint. That’s why doctors limit the number of injections you can have in a year. Three or four injections a year is the maximum for most people.
This is where we get to the point where it’s a short-term relief that has its place. But it doesn’t address the underlying problem of why you’re having chronic lower back pain in the first place.
In fact, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends a different approach than going straight for the injections. JAMA recommends targeted exercise, physical therapy, or chiropractic care before relying on cortisone shots in the lower back.
For many years, these injections were precursors to back surgery.
Yet, less invasive options exist like physical therapy and chiropractic care. These approaches address your pain and create an environment for your body to heal itself.
If you have tried cortisone injections, chiropractic care can still help you find lower back pain relief.
Can I Go to the Chiropractor After Getting a Shot?
Yes. A study of patients with lumbar radiculopathy found most participants experienced reduced pain with only one chiropractic treatment.
In fact, the study found that while many think of cortisone injections as reducing inflammation and pain, chiropractic adjustments can achieve the same results.
Both injections and chiropractic care can address nerve pain. For instance, if you have a slipped disc, that usually means the disc is pressing against a nerve. The injection can provide you pain relief, but it doesn’t address the out-of-place disc, so the pain returns.
Through a series of spinal adjustments, chiropractic care can help your disc shift back to its proper position. That way, you feel less pain longer and without injecting anything else into your back.
Of course, when choosing a cortisone shot in your lower back and chiropractic care, every approach is individual. So if you’re in Doylestown, Pa., why not speak with chiropractor Dr. Jeff McQuaite to see if chiropractic care is right for you and will relieve your lower back pain?