Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I have a painful right shoulder from rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Everyone tells me not to have cortisone injections. When is this recommended?


Cortisone is a form of corticosteroids, a treatment for inflammation. When injected into the joint, corticosteroids give relief of painful symptoms. The change in symptoms can be quite dramatic. However, pain relief may only be temporary. A flare-up in this disease can occur at any time.

Drugs taken by mouth (oral) are the first line of treatment for RA. Oral antiinflammatories for pain and swelling are often combined with physical therapy to improve motion and function. When this treatment fails, injections may be used to delay surgery.

Too many injections can have a bad effect on the soft tissues. Doctors advise no more than three injections. More than one injection is allowed when the patient gets good results with the first.

Andrew L. Chen, MD, MS, et al. Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Shoulder. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. January/February 2003. Vol. 11. No. 1. Pp. 12-24.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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