A cortisone injection is usually administered for purposes of reducing inflammation. The procedure can be done in the doctor’s office and will usually take less than five minutes. Like all injections, you should expect to feel some moderate pain and a burning sensation that disappears afterward. Let us examine cortisone injections and whether they are administered at the ER.
The Procedure for Cortisone Injections
During a typical cortisone injection, imaging techniques such as ultrasound are often used. However, this will depend on the doctor’s preferences. He may or may not decide to use the technology. He will also use the patient anatomy and the joint in question to determine whether he needs imaging technology.
For instance, when making injections into the spine lumbar facet joints, he must use imaging technology. This will help the doctor avoid causing damage to the nerve roots or vertebral discs. Besides that, injections to the hip joints also usually require imaging technology.
During the injection, local anesthetics are mixed in as well. This helps the patient to experience some numbness immediately the procedure is over. After a few hours, the anesthesia will wear off, which may cause patients to feel some pain. This sensation will usually disappear within 24 hours. However, it may last for up to three days.
Step by Step Procedure for the Injection
This procedure is usually done during the administration of the cortisone. It may be administered near the joint capsule or inside the joint capsule. All of this is dependent on the kind of illness being treated.
First, the patient will be asked to sit or lie down. This will make it easy for the doctor to access the joint. For instance, if the injection is directed at the knee, the patient is asked to recline on their back with the knee bent or straight. A rolled up towel may be used to provide support.
Before the injection, the patient will have the area of the joint cleaned with a disinfectant. The patient is then encouraged to relax. By relaxing the muscles, it helps to make the process of injecting the cortisone easy.
If ultrasound imaging is used, a gel is applied to the skin near the injection area. A technician will gently press an ultrasound transducer against the area covered in gel. An image of the joint will then be shown on the screen for the doctors to see. A topical anesthetic may be administered to numb the injection site.
Why is cortisone administered?
Cortisone injections are used to reduce inflammation. They are not used to relieve pain. However, the long-term effect of reducing inflammation is that pain will dissipate. The shots are used to treat various conditions such as gout, acne cysts, tendonitis, and arthritis. After the shot, fatty tissue around the injection site may appear sulky, but this is only temporary.
Since cortisone comes with some risks, there is a limit on the number of injections that can be administered. If you are allergic to cortisone, it should not be administered. It is also worth noting that it can weaken your immunity or make an existing infection worse. It can also increase your risk of getting new infections.
Besides that, if you recently experienced an illness, it is important that you tell the doctor. Also, avoid being close to people who have any illness after you get the infection. It is especially so if they have a communicable disease.
While on cortisone, it is not advisable to get any live viral vaccines. This includes the flu vaccine, yellow fever, smallpox, or the shingles vaccines. Non-live vaccines are no cause for worry although your doctor is best suited to help you understand that.
If you are exposed to measles or chicken pox after taking cortisone, you should get in touch with your doctor. If you do not, these conditions can be life-threatening. Steroids may also affect the rate of growth in kids. If you notice your child is not growing, it is important that you contact the doctor.
Getting Cortisone at the ER
Doctors at the ER, including at Frontline ER, do have training on how to administer cortisone. However, if you are visiting the hospital for a condition that requires cortisone, it is because you have pain. In most cases, pain is not considered a life-threatening case.
Thus, you will most likely have been administered painkillers by your GP. As such, do not expect to get cortisone injections from the ER. It is only in very rare circumstances that you may be administered with cortisone at the ER. In such a case, there is a good chance that your insurer will not cover you.
Besides that, if you go to the ER complaining of pain, the ER staff will most likely ask you to provide them with contacts to your doctor. They treat such cases with suspicion and may suspect you are a pain medication addict. In summary, it is highly unlikely that you will get cortisone injections at the ER.