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What is Cortisone?

Cortisone is not an anabolic steroid, and so it does not have performance-enhancing abilities. Rather, it is a synthetic steroid that enhances the body's natural ability to heal injuries. It is considered as the second line of treatment over the counter (OTC) pain medication cannot help.

How It Works?

Cortisone has natural healing abilities, making it a popular choice among orthopedic surgeons as well as the athletic world. It is very effective for joint pain (e.g., knees, elbows, back, and knees), tendon ruptures and inflammation, and arthritis. When OTC medications are ineffective, doctors often add a local anesthetic such as Novocain, to cortisone, and inject the damaged areas. This helps to reduce inflammation and pain, and helps to speed the recovery process.

How Efficient Is Cortisone?

Most patients will notice an improvement in 1-3 days, which usually last for weeks or months depending on the condition. Although, some individuals will need multiple shots; administering more than four shots in a year is generally not recommended.

Side Effects?

When injected correctly, side effects are quite minimal with cortisone shots. It is important that the number of shots do not exceed the recommendations, since this could cause even further damage to muscle tissue and tendons. In general, the injections could be a bit tender and could hurt a little, depending on the injection site or area.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Cortisone Injection Costs

Costs vary and depend on factors including but not limited to: Where you live, health condition, area to be injected, your health insurance, and the number of shots needed. For most part, injections that are medically necessary are covered by most insurance companies. This is good news, since on average; injections can cost $150-$500- depending on above-mentioned factors.

Same factors considered, cortisone shots for acne-related conditions also vary and can cost anywhere from $20-$150. Keep in mind that if you are uninsured, your costs will be more, since you will be paying (OOP). If you are insured, you should only be responsible for a co-insurance percentage (this varies) amount or in most cases, an office co-pay (usually $10-$60).

The Bad News? Some insurance companies such as Blue Cross, depending on where you live, have clauses and stipulations: For example, if a patient receives two injections with no improvement, they will have to cover any additional costs out-of-pocket (OOP).

The Good News? If you are uninsured you will welcome the fact that many clinics and hospitals offer discounts that range anywhere from 10-50 percent. Be sure to conduct your own research if you are a candidate for cortisone. A good place to start is right there in your doctor's office. You could gain a wealth of knowledge. You just have to ask those questions.

Safe Is Best

As always, be honest with your medical provider and comply with his/her orders prior to having an injection. For example, if you are on an aspirin regimen, or other blood thinners, or you consume herbal supplements and foods with such qualities will need to avoid them several days prior to your appointment. As always, communicate with your doctor. Be well and play it safe.

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