Now we can move on to the role of corticosteroids in relieving back and neck pain. Remember the five stages of the inflammatory response discussed above? Nerve tissue is quite vulnerable to the effects of the inflammatory response and it has been a principle of medical therapeutics for decades that corticosteroids have a beneficial effect on inflamed and compressed nerve tissue. Therefore, corticosteroids are correctly used in the early treatment of sciatica or cervical radiculopathy to revive ailing nerve tissue. The pain relief that accompanies corticosteroid treatment for sciatica or cervical radiculopathy is a fortunate by-product. Corticosteroids seem not to be analgesics, per se. They do not exert their beneficial effect by covering up unpleasant sensations as do narcotics for example. Rather, they relieve pain due to the modulation of the inflammatory response itself and pain relief that is experienced by the herniated disc or spinal stenosis patient is a favorable by-product of recuperating, injured nerve tissue.
With the numerous points we have to choose from for our steroid injections most will find the glutes and lateral (side) deltoid head to be the most comfortable and convenient points of administration. Injection sites such as calves and traps are highly warned against; although in terms of adequate injection sites they are fine, they can produce a fair amount of pain in the individual. No matter where you choose to inject always practice sanitary methods; do not reuse needles or syringes, clean the area thoroughly before injection and always sterilize with alcohol beforehand.
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.