Shoulder Injections For Arthritis

Georgia Hand, Shoulder, and Elbow

Do you long for relief from shoulder osteoarthritis or another form of shoulder arthritis but are hesitant to have surgery? Our shoulder experts at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow understand how you feel and only recommend surgery when other options have been unsuccessful. We strive to provide the simplest form of treatment to help you find relief.

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You could be among the many who have found relief from an arthritic shoulder by means of an injection. Injections have been used for many years to treat musculoskeletal pain, including shoulder pain. Schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located offices in Marietta and Atlanta, Georgia today to learn more about how we can help!

Below you will find a brief overview of the injections used to treat shoulder arthritis symptoms.

What Is an Injection for Shoulder Arthritis?

An injection for shoulder arthritis is a form of treatment used to deliver a high dose of medication directly into your arthritis-affected shoulder joint. These injections can be administered with or without imaging guidance from an X-ray or ultrasound.

Types of Therapeutic Injections for Shoulder Joint Arthritis

There are 3 main types of therapeutic injections used for treating shoulder joint arthritis. They include the following:

  1. Corticosteroid Injections — Steroid injections are the most administered injection used to alleviate shoulder stiffness, swelling, and pain. The strong anti-inflammatory medication in steroid injections provides short-term relief.
  2. Hyaluronic Acid Injections — Hyaluronic injections (also known as viscosupplementation) can provide artificial lubrication for your shoulder, mimicking the synovial fluid that your body naturally produces to lubricate your joints. Your physician can inject hyaluronic acid (HA) to improve your shoulder’s gliding motion.
  3. PRP Injections —PRP (platelet-rich plasma) is derived from whole blood that comes from your own body. This plasma is then injected into the shoulder joint. PRP is most used to improve the pain associated with knee arthritis. However, it can also be used for shoulder osteoarthritis or a rotator cuff tear.

How Do Injections Help Shoulder Pain?

These injections are used to help chronic shoulder pain by:

  • Relieving shoulder arthritis pain
  • Relieving inflammation
  • Increasing the functionality of your arm
  • Assisting in the preservation of your shoulder joint structure

A shoulder injection can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, including anti-inflammatory medications,
physical therapy, and range of motion exercises. This multifaceted approach has helped many find relief, even from severe pain.

How Long Do Shoulder Joint Injections Provide Pain Relief?

Corticosteroid injections provide immediate short-term pain relief because they are usually mixed with a numbing agent (local anesthetic). Once the numbing medication wears off, you may feel sore until the cortisone begins taking effect two to three days later. The results can last for several months to a year.

It is important to note that repeated steroid injections can cause the tendons and ligaments around your shoulder joint to weaken and the cartilage to deteriorate. Your doctor may limit your injections.

A hyaluronic acid injection can provide relief for up to 6 months. While this technique has helped many to find relief, it has yet to be scientifically proven to have positive results. It has only been approved to treat knee arthritis; however, it is commonly used to treat shoulders and hips as well.

PRP injections may provide relief that lasts for weeks or months. According to the professor and director of the Rehabilitation Medicine Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, “the jury is still out about the long-term efficacy” of PRP injections.

Advantages of Injections When Treating Shoulder Arthritis

The advantages of using shoulder injections when treating shoulder arthritis include:

  • Reduced pain
  • Improved functionality
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Surgery may be avoided or postponed
  • Fewer side effects because the medication is being rendered to the specific joint that is causing pain.
  • May help avoid or reduce the need for oral steroids

Disadvantages of Injections When Treating Shoulder Arthritis

Depending on the type of injection you receive, the disadvantages of shoulder joint injections can include:

  • It is not a cure for the illness
  • Possible infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Temporary increase in blood sugar (if you have diabetes)
  • Tendon weakening
  • Possible skin discoloration

If you are curious to see if an injection can reduce pain in your shoulder, schedule an appointment at Georgia Hand, Shoulder & Elbow in
Marietta or Atlanta, GA today! Our experts are ready to help you find the best way to alleviate your pain.

Medically reviewed by

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Plastic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon

Hand & Orthopaedic Surgeon