Steroid injections are a common form of treatment in orthopedics. Many people misunderstand steroid injections to mean the steroids used by athletes to cheat. The truth is, they are not the same. Some steroids can be very helpful in alleviating symptoms of a variety of conditions. Read on to learn more about steroid injection therapy and the conditions it can help with.
Anabolic Steroids Versus Corticosteroids
What comes to mind when most people think of steroids is just one kind of them: anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are hormones, usually synthetic, that are derivatives of testosterone. They are used to promote tissue growth and are infamously known to be abused by athletes to improve muscle strength and endurance.
Corticosteroids (or just steroids), on the other hand, is a broader term that can refer to any of the various synthetic derivatives of steroid hormones. Steroids are used as drugs to treat a range of different conditions. They come in a variety of forms, including tablets, syrups, and injections. Corticosteroids are used to alleviate pain for a longer time period than oral pain medications.
Conditions Steroid Injections Can Help Treat
Steroids work by decreasing inflammation and slowing down the immune system. By injecting them directly into a problem area, the symptoms of a myriad of inflammatory diseases and conditions can be alleviated. Here are just a few of them.
If you are experiencing pain or inflammation in your wrist, knee, or ankle, you may have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic autoimmune disease and a unique form of arthritis in that it often attacks the joints on both sides of the body. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of steroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and pain killers to help ease your joint pain and stiffness.
Another type of arthritis, gout, occurs in the form of sharp crystals that appear most commonly in the big toe. Gout can also affect other joints like your feet, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and hands. Attacks can cause sudden and serious pain to the affected area, swelling and reddening it. As people with higher levels of uric acid are at a higher risk for this condition, doctors will often prescribe steroids as well as changes in diet and lifestyle.
We have over 150 bursae, fluid-filled sacs padding our muscles and skin from our bones, in our bodies. Bursitis occurs when our bursae are overexerted, usually causing pain and swelling to our most often used joints: the shoulders, elbows, and knees. If giving your body a break from more physically taxing activities does not help, your doctor may prescribe steroids or physical therapy.
Tendinitis (or tendonitis) is a condition where the tendons, the tissues connecting your muscles to your bones, become inflamed. As such, tendinitis can affect nearly any part of the body that has tendons, the most common areas being the bases of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, and knee. While home remedies like simple rest or heat or ice application can help reduce pain and inflammation, doctors may recommend steroids, splints, or even surgery for more severe cases.
Back and neck pain can often be traced to herniated or slipped discs. This is a condition where a spinal disc’s nucleus pushes or slips out of its annulus, causing pain and weakness in the affected area. Disc herniation is often a result of the natural wear and tear the body goes through, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. Once identified, your doctor may suggest steroid injections, pain killers, or physical therapy to alleviate pain and restore function.
Steroid Injections in Rochester Hills, MI
Our joints can cause us all sorts of trouble, from minor back pain to more serious conditions like gouts or arthritis. We can try to patch things up ourselves, but it’s always best to get in touch with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Steroid injections may just be the solution you need.
Here at Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery in Rochester Hills, MI, our team of professionals provides quality care for patients with back pain. With his remarkable skills, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren can address the cause of your back pain and deliver the results you need to enjoy an enhanced quality of life in no time.