What we’ll cover
  1. What is a corticosteroid injection?
  2. Common shoulder conditions treated by physiotherapists
  3. Imaging for shoulder pain
  4. Physiotherapy or Corticosteroid Injection for shoulder pain?
  5. Side effects of corticosteroid injections
  6. Benefits of a corticosteroid injection

Corticosteroid injections for shoulder pain

Physiotherapy or Corticosteroid Injections for your shoulder pain?  Are you experiencing shoulder pain? Our physiotherapist Tegan Skipworth explores treatment options such as corticosteroid injections and physiotherapy.

corticosteroid injections for shoulder pain

What is a corticosteroid injection?

Corticosteroid injections are a commonly used intervention in the management of joint pain and pathology. They are used to treat and control inflammation within a specific region of the body to allow a reduction in a patient’s pain symptoms.

Corticosteroid injections are usually comprised of corticosteroid medication and a local anaesthetic. The corticosteroids mimic hormones that are produced naturally within the body, specifically the adrenal glands. These injections are used to control and treat inflammation within a particular joint or area of the body.

Common shoulder conditions treated by physiotherapists

  • Tendon pathology
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Rotator cuff pathology
  • Shoulder instability
  • Arthritis
  • Frozen Shoulder

Imaging for shoulder pain

Often individuals who are showing no symptoms will have shoulder conditions on image findings. However, a high level of pathology on image findings does not always equal a high level of pain. It is possible to improve function and pain in a shoulder without imaging but imaging such as X-rays, MRI and ultrasounds usually become important when the result of the findings may change the treatment pathway.

Imaging can be expensive and has the potential to be a barrier to patient progression as some patients may develop false beliefs about their rehab potential due to image findings. For example: avoiding all overhead activities due to tendon pathology.

Only select patients with shoulder pain should be referred for imaging – your physiotherapist and doctors will undertake a thorough assessment to determine whether or not is it appropriate.

Physiotherapy or Corticosteroid Injection for shoulder pain?

Most common shoulder pain can be managed by your physiotherapist without the need for an X-ray, MRI or corticosteroid injection. Evidence supports physiotherapy interventions inclusive of exercise and manual therapy as having positive effects in pain reduction in patients with shoulder pain and pathology.

Most physiotherapists will recommend a period of conservative management (weeks to months) before referring for a corticosteroid injection. During this time, patients may be advised to trial exercise, manual therapy, hot/cold therapy, oral medication and/or activity modification. Injections are often used for patients who have failed with conservative management or are unable to manage their pain enough to participate in active rehabilitation.

As well as invasive, injections can often be painful and do have associated risks and potential side effects. Practitioners and GP’s will want to limit the number of corticosteroid injections an individual may have due to further risks from having multiple injections.

Side effects of corticosteroid injections

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Tendon weakening
  • Tissue damage
  • Thinning of nearby bone (osteoporosis)
  • Increased pain short term after injection

Benefits of a corticosteroid injection

  • Reduced pain and inflammation
  • Increased pain free mobility of the joint
  • Weeks to months of pain relief

Patients who are appropriate for a corticosteroid injection should be aware that effects are short term only and they will still need to engage in physiotherapy rehabilitation following a corticosteroid injection to ensure a long-term positive outcome.

It is important to remember that your physiotherapist will consider you appropriate or inappropriate for a corticosteroid injection based on your clinical presentation and your image findings. Not all shoulder pathology will respond to a corticosteroid injection, and not all individuals will have the same response to a corticosteroid injection.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain and want to explore your treatment options, make an appointment to see one of our experienced physiotherapists to start your rehabilitation process today. You can book online or call our friendly team on 9571 6888.

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Back to school 🔙📚

Last week we were fortunate enough to head back to uni and refresh our anatomy knowledge at @latrobeuni in the anatomy labs. 

Thank you to the Latrobe School of Physiotherapy for inviting us! Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone.

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