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Why an Orthopedic Stem Cell Procedure is a Better Alternative to Cortisone Shots

The use of cortisone injections in the muscles and joints to alleviate pain and inflammation is becoming increasingly popular – but is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Cortisone reduces inflammation (swelling) in and around the joint, is relatively safe and easy to perform, and has proven to lessen pain in the short term [1]. However, what many don’t know is the long term issues, and even further damage that Cortisone may cause.

The Long Term Mess

As shown in the chart at the top of this post, in a study published in the journal Radiology and reported on CNN, researchers observed that Cortisone shots accelerate patients’ osteoarthritis progression, subchondral insufficiency fracture, osteonecrosis, and rapid joint destruction with bone loss [2].

Another study analyzed 41 previously published reports detailing various Cortisone treatments on 2,700 patients with tendon injuries. These included tennis elbow, rotator cuff, and Achilles injuries — all injuries in which tendons become painful or torn, often from overuse. Analysis of the reports suggested you can expect “short-term gain but long-term pain” when it comes to cortisone shots, because injections have a high chance of success within three to six weeks, but after that time frame, patients had a 62% higher risk of relapse than those who initially did nothing [3]. Based on this data, there is great evidence that Cortisone shots, in the end, can cause much more harm than good.

Think Twice Before Settling for the “Quick Fix”

Steroid Injections: Friend or Foe Blog

You may want to read more on the cortisone subject from another of our Regenexx Pittsburgh doctors, Dr. Jesse Sally, who published an earlier blog post titled: “Steroid Injections: Friend or Foe.” In this post Dr. Sally understands that the clear objective for patients is to get rid of pain as fast as possible. He explains that steroid injections can stop pain for 3-6 months. Dr. Sally then makes a case for regenerative treatments using platelets from patients’ blood and stem cells from their bone marrow (not from umbilical or amniotic sources) because the focus with these treatments is more on healing tissue for longer-term benefit.

If Not the Cortisone Shot, Then What?

Before you accept a corticosteroid injection for the first, or even second or third time, please consider an alternative non-surgical solution, using your body’s own live stem cells to repair muscle injuries and alleviate joint pain for the long term. Regenexx Pittsburgh offers the most advanced bone-marrow derived orthopedic stem cell procedures available.

Regenexx openly publishes patient outcomes data.

Trust the Data and Our Patients

Follow the link and you can select any joint and view Regnexx patient outcomes.

To give you solid data, for example, more than 2,220 shoulder Regenexx-SD* patients are being tracked in the Regenexx Patient Registry right now. This means you can see exactly how patients report the impact a procedure has had on their joint function, joint pain, and overall joint improvement. To view the registry and see real data tap here (will take you to a new window).

We know our patients value getting back to the activities they love — whether that is walking, running, skiing, or high-level sports — and our procedures allow them to do just that. The registry above shows that over time, patients’ joint function only improves, pain only decreases, and overall joint improvement increases after undergoing one of our procedures.



To find out if these stem cell procedures are right for you or for more information, please get in touch with us.


[1] https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/325370-overview

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/17/health/steroid-injections-study-trnd/index.html

[3] https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-11-2010/cortisone_shots.html