You have had 3 injections of steroids in the past year; doctors generally recommend no more than 3 injections in the same area in a 12-month span. Corticosteroids cause a number of side effects that may be limited to the area injected or affect the entire body. Side effects increase with higher doses and repeated clinical use. For this reason, doctors can limit the number of injections and the cumulative amount of corticosteroids given.
Corticosteroid injections are usually given no more often than every six weeks, and usually no more than three or four times a year. A patient's situation dictates the timing and frequency of treatment. There is no medical limit to the number of injections a person can receive. However, there are concerns about repeated injections of cortisone in specific areas of the body.
In addition, the individual response to a cortisone injection varies. Some patients don't experience pain relief with cortisone treatments. If the first injection doesn't relieve pain, your doctor may try a second shot four to six weeks later. If there is no improvement after the second injection, a third injection is not recommended.
Steroid injections can't treat the underlying cause of your condition, but they can treat symptoms. If you have been injected with steroids into a joint or muscle, your healthcare professional can give you a steroid card to take with you. They may want to check their blood pressure and blood sugar levels before the first injection, since steroid injections can cause them to increase. Steroid injections are often recommended for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis.
We always spend a significant amount of time at your appointment discussing your specific case with you describing the pros and cons of a steroid injection. However, this varies from surgeon to surgeon and some surgeons we work with do not want a steroid injection to be performed within three months of the date of the operation. One of the advantages of steroid injections compared to tablets is that often the dosage can be kept low. We work very closely with surgeons and receive many referrals from surgeons to perform a steroid injection to help people while they wait for their operation.
However, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult with your doctor before receiving a steroid injection. If you have diabetes, you will need to discuss this with your doctor or other health professional, since receiving a steroid injection can increase your blood sugar levels for a few days after the injection. It's also important to note that while corticosteroid injections into a joint can relieve pain and restore mobility, in many cases they are combined with other medications and physical therapy to treat the underlying medical problem or injury. Patients taking other corticosteroid medications, such as prednisone pills or inhaled steroids, should receive fewer injections or lower doses if possible to minimize the above risks.
Single injections of steroids should not affect fertility, pregnancy, or breastfeeding and can be useful treatments in these situations. Steroid injections can prevent your body from producing natural hormones, which can be dangerous if you get sick, have an accident, or need an operation. Your doctor will probably recommend that you do not have more than three injections of steroids in the same part of your body in a year.