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What is a cortisone injection?

Cortisone Injection

A cortisone injection is a treatment for a variety of diseases, disorders and conditions. Cortisone is a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory effects. They can also help regulate your immune system’s activity. 

There are a many types of cortisones injections. Cortisone injection is often a generic term for injection of any of these corticosteroids. The goal of a cortisone injection is to regulate the immune system or reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation helps relieve pain.

A cortisone injection is only one type of treatment. Discuss all your treatment options with your doctor or healthcare provider to understand which options are right for you.  

Types of cortisone injections

The types of cortisone injections include:

  • Local injections reduce inflammation in a limited or small area of your body. Examples of local injections include intra-articular (joint) injections and epidural (spinal) injections.
  • Systemic injections reduce inflammation in your entire body or system or regulate your immune system’s activity. Systemic injections treat allergic reactions and some diseases that affect more than one area. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, breathing problems, collagen diseases, and cancer.

Other procedures that may be performed

Doctors can use cortisone injections by themselves to treat certain diseases, disorders or conditions. Cortisone injections are also used with additional treatments. Other treatments vary depending on the specific disease, disorder or condition. Talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about all the treatment options for your condition.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 12, 2013

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Medical References

Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Joint and Soft Tissue Injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(2):283-289. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2002/0715/p283.html. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Epidural Injections. American College of Radiology. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=epidural. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Epidural Steroid Injections. North American Spine Society. http://www.knowyourback.org/Pages/Treatments/InjectionTreatments/ES_Injections.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Lavelle W, Lavelle ED, Lavelle L. Intra-articular Injections. Anesthesiology Clin. 2007;25:853–862. http://www.med.nyu.edu/pmr/residency/resources/injections%20and%20procedures/clinics%20anes_intra-articular%20injections.pdf. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Robles DT, Moore E, Draznin M, Berg D. Keloids: pathophysiology and management. Dermatol Online J. 2007;13(3):9. Review. http://dermatology.cdlib.org/133/reviews/keloid/robles.html. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Spinal Injections. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00560. Accessed May 1, 2013.
Steroid Injections. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/steroid_injections/hic_steroid_injections.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2013.

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