Steroid injections-information needed!


I have been suffering with awful pain in my shoulder so much that all I can do is cry. My doctor has told me that he's going to try a steroid injection into my joint. I have never had one before so am very anxious. Does it hurt? How long until it takes affect? If it doesn't work how long after the injection should I wait until I can be certain it's not for me? Does it take the pain away completely? Sorry for the questions but I don't know much about it!

20 Replies

  • They helped me , it took a few days but I felt relief right away . Some people they don't help. But it's great if you can't get relief from your med. Doctor will have you rest and ice after. Good luck it doesn't hurt . Just feel relief from my experience. I've had them in my neck, spine

  • Hi! I have had a few direct steroid injections in my shoulder. Yes it hurts but in my opinion it's no where near the pain of a frozen or badly inflamed shoulder. In my case the relief was pretty swift, feeling much better by the next day. Much of it has to do with the skill of the person doing the injection. In my case I have an amazing pain doctor who's also an anesthesiologist. He manages my pain medications and does any steroid injections or nerve blocks. In the past I've had good luck with my orthopedic surgeon doing a shoulder steroid injection. The more you can relax and allow the doctor to do the injection, the better off you will be. My imagination and worry was worse than the first injection. I've had them done with and without anesthetic. Sometimes they use a freezing spray to help numb the injection site. I learned not to wait so long before seeking help, my doctor told me to never wait until I am in complete agony again. The day after the injection I'm usually standing in a hot shower, walking my fingers of the affected side slowly up the wall from waist height, up the wall to shoulder height or as high as I can go without experiencing pain or discomfort. Usually I have pretty good range of motion by the third or fourth day. The only other thing I would mention is the advice my sports medicine doctor told me and that was to view these injections as a "silver bullet". Multiple steroid injections to the same joint can actually do damage in the long run. I'm no doctor but that's a summary of my experience. I've been living with some significant shoulder issues for some time from frozen shoulder to stingers which hurt badly enough to take my breath away at times. Heat and exercise are definitely my friends. I have a heated snuggle wrap that helps a lot. Microwave heat packs are wonderful too.

    Best of luck and feel better soon! xx

  • Hello

    I had both shoulders done at once. The first shoulder didn't hurt at all, but I think the doc hit a vein or something on the second shoulder. It pinched a bit, and I got an amazing bruise!

    I've had my knees done, and that really hurt, shoulders didn't hurt at all really...just a pinch. The injections were really helpful, and lasted quite a while.

    Go for it!!

  • I had a depo medrone injection in my left shoulder at the end of October. It's eased it a lot but not completely, though I'm not complaining as it's better than it was! It depends on the skill of the person doing it but mine didn't hurt & as lidocaine was injected along with the steroid it's less hurty anyway. Whoever gives you the injection will probably have to feel around to see exactly where to inject & I found that more uncomfortable than the injection itself. Afterwards I can only describe it feels like it leaves a lump just after it's done, until it's dispersed I suppose. It was a couple of days before it started working, I was careful not to move the joint much til the next morning. A previous general steroid earlier in the year, a much larger dose, took a week to work & I felt the benefit for one day, that obviously wasn't as successful as the localised one.

    I hope yours helps you, that you're worrying about nothing & all will be fine. It's always concerning when you haven't had something done, fear of the unknown I suppose & more so when needles are involved!

  • They helped me when i had them in my knee. Yes it will hurt a bit,but they do wipe the area with a antiseptic. You will have to rest after having it and you should start to feel the difference in a very short period of time.xxxx

  • I have had and initially it is painful but soon goes.My first one lasted few months.A friend had bad elbow and after 2nd one no more pain

  • Hi,

    I too have had pain in my shoulder and had a couple of steroid injections. I also was anxious but I must say I hardly felt anything and the relief within a couple of days was amazing. All I can say is that it worked for me and something that helps the pain is certainly worth a try.

    For me it's effects didn't last more than a few weeks so had a second injection which really helped and allowed me to do some exercises to keep the joint in good shape.

    Hope you get some relief soon.

    Hugs and best wishes x

  • I'm due to have these in both my thumbs, these will also be my first ones. My hubby has had steroid injections in his elbow and while he said the injections themselves didn't hurt he was sore for a few days after. I have already been told by our GP that the key is to rest for a few days after (which is something my hubby didn't do) and try not to use the joint too much although you need to use it to stop it stiffening up.

    He also said they are very good and in many cases they do work quite quickly, however there are always going to be the cases where they only work for a limited time and not at all. He also said that he personally doesn't like to inject the same joint more than 3 times, I don't know if he meant in total or in any one year as they can cause more damage. My hubby had been pain free for 5 years between injections so for him at least they worked, I hope they do the same for you and for me.

  • I have had several in my shoulders. For me they work within a few hours and last a few months. In fact I'm going to ask my rheumy for one when I see him in January?

  • I had one in my wrist 10 days ago. I had a local first and felt no pain. The joint did hurt for the first couple of days which reminded me to rest it properly. It has gradually improved over the last week and is now much better. This is very similar to what happens when I have a general steroid injection. It usually lasts about a month. I'm hoping for longer with this one !

  • I have had a few injections in my finger knuckles. it does hurt while being injected, but it wasn't horrible. It was worth it, it worked so well for a long time

  • Thank you so much for your replies and it has eased some of my anxieties. It seems the time frame for it to work varies quite a lot so I'm guessing it works (or doesn't) depending on the individual. Will the person administrating the injection explain all of this or will they just do it? Thank you again for your support!

  • They should explain everything they are doing or going to do. If not, stop them before they start and ask questions until you are comfortable. Don't be shy

  • Everything should explained before the administering the injection, though in reality it happens rarely. The Registrar who did my latest, my shoulder, asked for verbal consent, explained it may bleed, advised of what she was doing whilst looking for the exact place she needed to inject, of possible skin atrophy, facial flushing, increased pain, irregular BM's & failure of it working. She also wrote the best before date & batch No of the steroid in the report back to by GP, now that's thorough! She's the first who's followed the guidelines & in doing so I thought better of her, not that she was bad in the first instance, far from it!

  • I've had them in my knees and although you feel a sharp scratch it's nothing compared to the symptoms it's treating! I've had them in my thigh as well for all-over pain relief from flare ups and always had tremendous relief from them. Make sure you take it easy for 12-24 hours afterwards, as much as you can anyway!

    I've been on methotrexate for 5 months now so touch-wood been pain free since.

    Wishing you good luck!

    Ally x

  • I've had them in my knees and the top of my foot where my turning toe started a lump. I've found for my group at least that the physician's assistant does a better job of rendering them pain free. The doc himself gave me the one in the foot and he didn't do it as well - it hurt - ha ha. Generally they have taken effect within a day and lasted for up to three months...

  • Does not hurt works well for my me but not injected into my shoulder it went into bottom but it took the shoulder pain away

  • i had steroid injection for shoulder and neck brilliant it really does help good luck xx

  • It helped me I had a syringe of fluid removed first from shoulder then injection, they tell U to rest arm for a day or so and don't over do things, mine felt really good, I've had two. I didn't have any pain but would do it anyway because it's worth it to be pain free and be able to sleep. Best of

    Luck go for it. Marian.

  • Hi, I was in the same situation a few weeks ago! Such awful pain, the steroid injection did not hurt and relief came within hours, hope it is the same for you. 6 weeks on I am still pain free. The shot also took the inflammation away from my hands and wrists

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