Are Medical Cortisone Steroids Dangerous?

I personally have been on the receiving end of the needle for a cortisone steroid injection for a rotator cuff injury.

Playing rugby has caused and exacerbated the injury to the point whereby even now, after being rested for a number of weeks the pain is still present.

It had a massive impact on my weight training.

I could no longer perform overhead barbell press with heavy weight, nor could I continue to progress with my barbell bench press.

I still can’t now. I went from benching 147kg to feeling pain just benching 100kg.

As a result I concentrate now on weighted dips which doesn’t feel uncomfortable and using a Powertec Isolateral Lever gym set up which although works my chest and shoulders doesn’t place me rotator cuff under the same stresses as a barbell.

I’m not happy about it, but I feel like I have little other option if I want to keep lifting.

I had a cortisone injection after seeing my doctor, and while it reduced the pain, it didn’t relieve me of it 100%.

Now, there’s a bit of controversy regarding cortisone steroids.

They are very good at being able to rapidly reduce the effects of inflammation to a certain area, such as a joint.

Furthermore, their use can be expanded to those suffering from allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease plus many other conditions that can be difficult to treat effectively.

However, some medications such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone and prednisone which are all corticosteroids can cause some severe side effects.

In fact it isn’t just physical side effects either, you run the risk of suffering from psychological reacts as well including psychosis.

The way that doctors treat people to minimize the side effects is to provide a large initial dose which then reduces over a period of 7 – 14 days.

These are known as dosepaks and are used due to the understanding that any negative side effects seem to be linked to long term use with continued high doses.

Studies revealed in the British Medical Journal showed that even patients who only took steroid pills for less than a month showed side effects that included:

  • Blood infections
  • Blood clots
  • Broken bones

This highlights the necessity to only prescribe steroids in extreme circumstances.

However, data didn’t include those patients using inhalers commonly used for asthma, that said, reports of negative and severe side effects are abundant.

One user described her experience of using an inhaler which contained more steroid that the initially prescribed methylprednisolone but it left her feeling manic and suicidal which led to her taking an overdose of pain medication.

She was on suicide watch for 3 days in hospital.

A study released in the psychiatry and clinical neurosciences journal have noted common psychiatric conditions which include:

  • Severe anxiety
  • Dementia
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Delerium
  • Dementia

However, very little warning nor enough appreciation of these conditions are heeded which can be onset by both inhalers and pills.

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