When one (or more) injections don't solve the problem, surgery is often the next recommended step. Most of the people we work with seek relief from back, knee, neck or shoulder pain WITHOUT the need for surgery or other procedures. It can be discouraging to learn that cortisone injections don't work to relieve pain. Fortunately, there are other options that may be more effective.
Your provider should have taken x-rays or performed other diagnostic tests before giving you a cortisone injection. If they didn't, you may want your diagnosis confirmed. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis must be treated with specific medications that slow the progression of the disease. Cortisone injections may work together with these medications, but they won't work on their own.
With a steroid injection, it may take some time to see if the steroid is actually working. In some cases, the medication will take action as quickly as 24 to 48 hours, but in others, it may take up to a week before it starts to work. These injections use a steroid solution that is injected into the spine to reduce inflammation and pain. In addition, repeated steroid injections can weaken nearby bones and connective tissue, so you can only receive these injections a few times a year.
The injections they were receiving didn't relieve the pain or only reduced the pain for a short period, only for the pain to come back. This is more likely to happen if your provider didn't use an x-ray or ultrasound to guide the injection. There are several alternative treatments available to you if facet joint injections haven't worked. If it's due to inflammation, you may need to take medications to reduce inflammation before trying another type of injection.
If you experience any pain relief with the initial injection into the facet joint, your provider may suggest that you try repeating the injection to see if it is still useful. Steroids are the tool of these practices, as they simply reduce inflammation and, often, symptoms. There are many types of injections that can be used to treat a person's back pain, from nerve blocks to regenerative medicine techniques. Hyaluronic acid injections and PRP injections are often effective in patients with mild to moderate levels of joint degeneration.
When facet joint injections don't relieve pain, the next course of action will be to perform additional tests to see if the exact cause of the pain can be identified. Another treatment option could be epidural steroid injections; however, what happens if epidural steroid injections don't work? If you're wondering what to do when epidural steroid injections don't work, it'll be a pleasure to help.