How many cortisone shots can you take?

Posted , 7 users are following.

I just had a flare this week in my shoulder, I went to the doctor and he gave me a cortisone shot. It took away the extreme pain but it still hurt. I'm pretty sure it was brought on by stress from my job. I had a day long tension headache from hell. Yesterday I had another tension headache and left work and I think I'm fixing to get another flare. It always happens at night and on the weekends it seems like. If I do get another flare will they just give me a cortisone shot again? This doctor does not seem to understand how painful this is and has not offered any pain killers. I have taken enough naproxen and IBU to float a battleship. How many shots can you take in a short amount of time? it's 2 weeks until I have my appt with a specialist.

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi river22, Sorry to hear about your flare up ,As a general rule a reasonable approach is to limit the frequency of injections to 3-4 for a single joint per year.
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  • Posted

    hi, i have had 3 lots of injections this year with intense physio and so many differant pain killers trying to ease the pain i feel in my shoulder, i went last week to see gp and begged for an injection as its the only thing that eases the pain,,,, but he told me ive had my quota for the year, max of 3 shots per year,, not good as no idea how long im having to wait for my surgery,,, i am at my lowest now, i cannot take much more of this pain, it has reached another level this past month,, hope you can find something that will ease the pain. bb
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    • Posted

      Briana, I am so sorry to hear that! I am just starting this journey but it helps to be in good company smile I am learning quit a bit from yall. (Okie term smile ) I understand a lot of members here are from the UK and it threw me for a loop with the medication names. LOL
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    • Posted

      Morning,

       I,ve just realized that not all coments are from uk, as you say the medication names are somewhat differant, i google them to find out what they are, lol,,, i do find the usa doctors are more open to try differant approaches to treatment, i am told not a lot more can do just have to wait for the surgery, and that im afraid is like a piece of string (how long????) i myself cannot tolerate ibrufen type meds, so its cocodamol for me and thats just horrid cos it causes severe constipation, cant win,, Ive had the most horrid night again, woke at 1.20am in pain and used up my daily quaota of pain meds (8 per 24 hrs) so slapped loads of heat gel on and a tubigrip which i find the gentle pressure does ease the pain a little, so up and down all night, finally given up trying to lie down the pain is at its worsest when im laying down. so yet another day of pain . and have my grand daughter staying so wanting to be cheerful for her,, chin up folks, bb

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  • Posted

    You really must try and stop the ibu and naproxen as they will really inflame your liver. See if you can change the week because it seems you have identified that work related stress may be a factor and the interesting point is it is evenings and weekends when the body is flaring. The cortisone will only help on an immediate basis because you need to try and get to understand the flare. I have had RA diagnosed since august and have now managed to realise that I must take omega 3 at 4000mg per day, iron every day (natural) and vitamin b. I have wholistic massage ( very gentle) and see a health coach to sort my eating patterns, diet on a daily basis and how to address my illness. I also started Chinese Medicine instead of methotrexate etc etc because their approach is to gradually treat the whole body not just the illness. I have had two very very tiny moments of inflammation that were hardly visible on my hands and that's been it. Thus course is not at all for everyone but I have no stiffness at all and absolutely no pain. It is joyous. At first I was quite scared to go unconventional ways, but I am so glad I did. But do try and work out those patterns that are triggering off the flare xx good luck
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    • Posted

      Yes, I just stopped taking them all together, they are so useless. I have a feeling my doctor may switch my med from plaqineil to methotrexate, don't ask me why but it seems that is what everyone takes. I will be researching natural ways to deal with this. As for the job, I am solving that problem. I can retire and have started the process but I have not let work know yet. I already feel like a new person just doing that little bit.
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  • Posted

    Cortisone shots are okay for temporary relief of osteo arthritis, but your doctor probably will not give you more than 3 to 4 per year. I've heard they can begin to make your bones brittle. I've had two flare-ups since July this year, and both of them were debilitating; my joints become fevered and swollen and I could not walk to the bathroom without assistance. The places affected were the same both times: big toe metarsals, knees, wrist, elbow, neck, and shoulder. My doctor put me on prednisone for 5 days and it helped within about 8 hours and by day five I felt pretty good. The only thing about prednisone is that when I went off of it I had a horrific headache for 2 days. 

    Be careful with the naproxen and IBU. I was taking a strong anti-inflammatory for a long time and ended up with three ulcers. Tell your doctor you want a stronger pain reliever for those times when you feel a flare-up is coming on.

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    • Posted

      I hate to hear that you had these flares Melody. I am worrying about it spreading to other joints. Every ache that I get I am thinking the RA is spreading. This morning I had a pain in my hip and knee that I hadn't had so now you know I am thinking OMG it's spreading like wildfire! I hope I get up in the morning and it's not there.
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    • Posted

      River, you must rest as much as possible when you feel the flare-ups coming. I know it is easier said than done, but critical to your well-being. Have you explained to your family, boss, friends, etc. exactly what RA is? I didn't do it for 12 years and when I finally sent them some information from the Mayo Clinic about RA, I was pleasantly surprised how supportive they were. I am also gluten free which I believe has helped the inflammation. I'm planning on going sugar free after the holidays (not that I eat a ton of sugar anyway) but it is also inflammatory. Desperate means call for desperate measures. Good luck.
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  • Posted

    What you have to keep in mind,when on any painkillers for painful arthritis.Don't be overdoing exercising or using the affected joint,or you will find that you have done further damsge.
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    • Posted

      I went back to the GP today for the results of the blood test. Come to find out he is just testing my liver and not the RA. He is p'd off because I have a specialist and won't even talk to me about it. I told him my job was to stressful and I wanted 30 days off. We fought about it and finally settled for 2 weeks. I will be using this time to file for retirement. I am sure I will have to fight work over my time that is coming to me but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. Everybody has got to be difficult but just knowing I don't have to stay at that hellhole has done wonders for my attitude confused
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  • Posted

    I know that a lot of people have replied already, but I wanted to give my insight on here! I had (have) severe osteoarthritis in my right shoulder for which I was given cortisone shots. I had 2 shots, in one month, neither of them helped, I then had 2 more a couple months later (one of which was under ultrasound and finally somewhat worked). From what my new orthopedic said, I had too many shots, and it actually made the OA worse. Within 1 year of the first injection, I ended up having to have 1inch of my A/C joint removed which trust me, was not and still is not fun. 

    Like many have said, cortisone injections are good for only temporary relief. I only suggest them if you are having aboslute crippling pain and need it to go away for the time being. They actually tend to do worse damage in the long run. Good luck!

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    • Posted

      At the risk of sounding stupid what is an A/C joint? and yes I was in crippling pain at the time. I had 4 flares in 3 months and that is how my RA hopped off from the start. The last shot took a good 12 hours to start taking effect and in my opinion stopped the excruciating pain but not real fast
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    • Posted

      Oops should have clarified! 

      Your AC joint is the joint where your clavicle meets your shoulder. So bascically they shaved my clavivle away from my shoulder, letting the scar tissue form a new joint. Don't get me wrong, I think cortisone shots are good if they help you, and should be used, but absolutely sparingly and only if necessary!

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