CORTICOSTEROID INJECTIONS TO SOOTH ARTHRITIS

With our arthritis patients, the goal is to reduce inflammation in the joints, which is where arthritis attacks. Dr. Dini begins treatment of arthritis patients with options such as physical therapy and the use of anti-inflammatory medications. But corticosteroid injections can be very effective and provide longer periods of pain relief.

HOW DO STEROIDS HELP?

People confuse the steroids they hear about being used by professional athletes with corticosteroids. But they are different.

The athletic steroid is made from male-hormone compounds. Corticosteroids are synthetic drugs that closely resemble cortisol, a hormone that your adrenal glands produce naturally. These steroids work by decreasing inflammation and reducing the activity of the immune system.

HOW DOES DR. DINI ADMINISTER STEROIDS FOR ARTHRITIS?

Steroids can be given systemically, meaning throughout the body, or they can be injected locally. Dr. Dini injects them locally directly into the joints, bursae (the lubricating sacs between certain tendons and the bones beneath them), or around tendons and other soft tissues.

Patients wonder about the need for injections, rather than oral delivery. Injecting the steroids directly into the inflamed joint allows Dr. Dini to deliver a high dose of the steroid directly to the problem. The same can’t be assured if the steroids are given orally or intravenously.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF DIRECT STEROID INJECTIONS?

Dr. Dini finds that direct injections allow the steroids to be very well tolerated by his patients. This bypasses the need for taking steroids orally, which brings into play various unwanted side effects. Steroid injections are one of the most effective ways to decrease pain and improve function. It’s important to note, however, that steroids don’t stop the arthritis; they only reduce the inflammation.

HOW OFTEN CAN YOU GET A STEROID INJECTION?

Corticosteroids cannot be given more than every three to four months. This is because if they are injected too soon, there is a risk of weakening tissues in the treatment area.

If you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, call Dr. Dini at either our Los Angeles office, (323) 525-0101, or our Encino office, (818) 784-1020.

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