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Shoulder Injections

What are shoulder injections?

Injections are a method of treatment for various conditions that afflict the shoulder joint. Injections are used to help treat swelling and inflammation while improving overall function. Corticosteroids are the most common substances injected into the shoulder joint. Corticosteroids have anti-inflammatory properties and are successful in alleviating numerous symptoms, including persistent pain and stiffness of the joint.  Injections can also be used as an important diagnostic tool.

Which conditions can be treated with shoulder injections?

Shoulder injections can successfully alleviate symptoms associated with the following conditions:

  • Rotator cuff tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Arthritis
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Impingement syndrome

If you are experiencing chronic pain or swelling in your shoulder, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor and determine if shoulder injections may be a successful method of treatment.

What are the risks associated with shoulder injections?

The use of shoulder injections, such as corticosteroids, can carry some risks including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Death of nearby bone tissue (necrosis)
  • Weakening of the tendons
  • Temporary pain and inflammation
  • Thinning of the skin near injection site

If you are looking into using corticosteroids as a treatment option for your condition, it is important to discuss the risks with your doctor and determine if injections are the correct approach to alleviate your symptoms.

What can be expected from having shoulder injections?

The procedure is fairly quick and simple, administered similarly to any injection. The site of injection is cleaned and sprayed with an anesthetic spray to help numb any pain. The injection may be uncomfortable and accompanied with some pain and pressure. The injection will provide relief to pain and inflammation felt in the shoulder joint over time and typically alleviated two days after receiving the shot.

Several injections, administered on a regular basis, are typically needed to help alleviate your symptoms.  As a general rule, corticosteroids should not be given more frequently than once every 6 weeks.

You may experience redness in the site of your injection. Ice packs can be used to help relieve pain. It is advised to avoid heavy lifting for about two days after receiving the injection. Some people may experience a warming sensation on their chest and face after the shot; however, this is a temporary side effect.


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