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How painful is a shoulder cortisone injection?

Related Topics: Shoulder, Cortisone, Injection

Answers From Experts & Organizations (1)

General Medicine
1,458 Answers
65,383 Helpful Votes
I suppose the answer to your question depends on your individual pain tolerance. Would you rate yourself "very tough" when it comes to pain? Or do you not handle pain too well? It's OK to say you don't handle pain well. In fact, as a nurse I appreciate it when patients tell me that so I can take extra measures to make sure they're comfortable.

All that said, a corticosteroid injection isn't too bad. Usually, the steroid medicine is mixed with numbing medicine, so after the initial "ouch," the injection area goes numb fairly quickly.

Corticosteroid injections can be very effective in reducing certain types of joint pain. If your health care provider has recommended a steroid injection for your shoulder problem, I would say "go for it."

Some tips to make the process more comfortable:

  • Focus on your breathing. Just before the procedure, begin taking long, slow, deep breaths from your abdomen (belly button area). The key word here is SLOW. Visualize the air going in and out of your body. This will help you relax.
  • Try to relax your arm as much as possible. Picture the muscles of your arm, starting at the fingers, and think about relaxing each muscle in turn, all the way to your shoulder.
  • Close your eyes and picture a pleasant location. Personally, I like to picture a mountain cabin by a lake. Take in all the details of this image while you're being injected. It will help you stay calm.

I hope that helps!

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