Feb 27, 2023

The Potential Risks of Steroid Injections for Chronic Pain

chronic steroids

When it comes to chronic pain, many people turn to steroid injections as a form of relief. While these injections can provide short-term relief from chronic pain symptoms, they also have potential risks. 

At Advanced Regenerative medicine, we approach chronic pain relief with a natural touch that doesn’t come with the risk of side effects or worse. In this post, let’s explore the downsides of steroid injections and discuss why platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may be a better solution for long-term pain relief. 

What Are Steroid Injections for Pain Relief?

Steroid injections involve injecting a corticosteroid medication into the affected area, which can reduce inflammation and irritation and therefore alleviate pain. This type of injection is typically used for arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other chronic musculoskeletal conditions. 

Steroid injections can provide rapid relief from pain and inflammation in some cases and can also be beneficial for relieving nerve-related pain. 

The Downsides of Steroid Injections 

Steroid injections can help alleviate chronic pain symptoms in the short term; however, they have some potential downsides. Injections aren’t suitable for everyone, as there are several potential side effects associated with the process.

Let’s get into some of the biggest reasons we tell patients to avoid this approach to pain relief whenever possible.

Injections can Weaken the Immune System

Steroid injections for pain can harm the immune system, as corticosteroids are immunosuppressive drugs. 

The medications within steroid shots suppress the production of inflammation-causing molecules and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which allow our bodies to fight off infection and disease. 

When these molecules and cytokines are suppressed, it makes us more susceptible to infections such as colds, flu, and other illnesses that require an intact immune system to fend off. 

You Could Suffer from Thinner Skin

Injections can also lead to thinner skin and soft tissue around the injection site, which could cause further damage or discomfort.

This side effect is possible because the medications in injections reduce the amount of collagen in the affected area. Collagen is a protein that helps maintain the structure and strength of your skin and other tissues. 

Therefore, reduced collagen production can lead to literally weaker skin.

Your Hormone Levels Could Become Unstable 

Additionally, steroid injections can affect hormone levels in your body, leading to unwanted side effects such as weight gain or mood swings. 

Steroid injections contain synthetic versions of the natural hormones cortisol and cortisone, which are produced by the adrenal glands. 

Consistent steroid injections can lead to problems with mineral balance and other unwanted effects on endocrine function. 

Prolonged use of steroid injections can cause a disruption in normal hormone levels and affect the feedback system that regulates levels of hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Aside from mood swings, these hormone shifts can also lead to changes in libido, energy levels, and sleeping patterns.

Why PRP is the Safer Choice

PRP is a natural solution for long-term pain relief that does not carry many risks associated with steroid injections. PRP involves taking a blood sample from the patient and spinning it in a centrifuge until it separates into its various components, one of which is platelets containing active proteins that aid in healing and regeneration. 

This platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the affected area to help reduce inflammation and promote healing without any significant side effects. 

As a bonus, PRP treatments typically take place every six months. So, you won’t have to worry about regular doses and dependency that can come with the steroid injection approach.. 

Start the Healing Process With Advanced Regenerative Medicine Today

When treating chronic pain, there are always pros and cons associated with popular treatment options PRP is an alternative, natural pain relief practice that comes with fewer potential risks and provides effective long-term pain relief. 

Don’t settle for multiple doses that always lead back to chronic pain. Find relief today, with Advanced Regenerative Medicine. Schedule your consultation today!