Do you often experience pain or swelling in some parts of the body like hands, ankle, feet or around the shoulder blades? If the pain or swelling is causing you a lot of discomfort and disabling you to function normally, then, it’s the most rewarding thing to find the best solution that will end this unpleasant experience. Perhaps you’ve heard people close to you with similar complaints mention cortisone shots or the non-invasive approach of NUCCA, the specialty we provide here at The Balancing Center. If you are new to any of these treatment options, the information below will surely enlighten you and help you make a wise decision.
What is a Cortisone shot?
Cortisone shots are steroid injections, or sometimes referred to as “corticosteroid injections” given to people with joint pain problems that include swelling, redness or feeling of heat in the affected areas like hands, wrist, elbow, shoulders, spine and ankle. This shot is administered by a medical doctor. The patients opting for this type of medication could benefit from reduction of pain around the inflamed areas.
What is the general use of Cortisone shots?
Cortisone shots may be given to patients for two major reasons:
- Treat an existing condition (joint pain or swelling)
- Get a diagnosis of the pain
For pre-existing pain or swelling, a medical doctor may recommend the patient cortisone shots to provide relief or reduce swelling. The efficacy of this treatment lasts for a period of 6 weeks up to 6 months. If the pain or swelling arises after that time, follow-up shots of steroids could be administered.
If the cause of pain or swelling is not clearly identified, the attending doctor may suggest cortisone shots to get a more accurate diagnosis. For example, if the patient is suffering from persistent pain around the hips, the doctor may perform cortisone injection to the affected area to find a verifiable conclusion, such as:
- If the cortisone shot proved to be effective is relieving the patient’s hip pain, then, the doctor may confirm that the pain comes from the hip area.
- In the event the pain is still eminent after the shots, the doctor may need to do further examination to the patient’s spine or sacroiliac joint because both these parts could be causing the hip pain.
- If the diagnosis is still not accurate after an injection, MRI or any detailed imaging test may be required for the patient.
- Cortisone injections can help determine the cause of the pain. Both the doctor and patient must discuss the objective of cortisone shot prior administration. The doctor must inform the patient where the shot will be targeted including the expected outcome of this procedure as well as the needed follow-ups like physical therapy or lifestyle change.
Cortisone shots are used in treating the following conditions:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Are there side effects to be expected from Cortisone shots?
The immediate side effect of having Cortisone shots is pain relief around the inflamed area. There are also complications that may arise after having these shots and include the following:
- Cortisone flare
This condition may arise as a side effect of the cortisone shot. The injected cortisone may become crystallized inside the body and lead to pain or swelling where it could be a lot worse than the pre-existing condition being treated. Cortisone flare could last for one to two days and can be treated through cold compress and rest.
- Skin discoloration
Patients with darker skin may find injected area of the skin to appear lighter after the cortisone shot. This skin discoloration could become permanent.
- Elevate blood sugar levels
Cortisone shots could elevate the patient’s blood sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes may be closely monitored with their blood sugar levels for a day or two after taking the injection.
Infection may develop on the injected area.
Allergic reactions could arise when local anesthetic is added to the shot.
Other side effects when under corticosteroid medication are weight gain and water retention.
Why limits should be observed when taking cortisone shots
Cortisone shots could pose dangers to the cartilage within a joint because it could cause deterioration. This is why doctors limit the number of cortisone shots into the joint area. In general, these shots should only be given not more than three or four times in a year.
Now, let’s talk about another treatment option that is effective and safer due to its non-invasive approach, the NUCCA procedure, a special type of chiropractic care procedure that we perform here at The Balancing Center.
What is NUCCA?
This procedure named after the organization (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) focuses on the proper alignment of the C-1 vertebra, called “atlas”. This vertebra envelops the brain stem and connects the base of the skull to the spine. The person’s overall physical balance has something to do with the relationship of the atlas and the skull. If there is an evident sign of misalignment, it could affect the overall health condition and wellbeing of the patient. A misaligned atlas could cause imbalance, the chain effect is putting more strain to the muscles and joints, wearing them off. If this happens, pain will be felt that will lead to headaches, migraines, and other chronic illnesses.
What to expect during a NUCCA procedure?
Prior to the actual NUCCA procedure, the patient will undergo a physical assessment. The doctor will check for any sign of spinal imbalance. A person may either have a raised hip or shoulder on one side of the body. There are cases where the patient’s one leg looks shorter than the other, and/or unequal weight distribution while walking or standing. The doctor will also perform the following:
- Accurate measurement of the leg length
- A pelvic rotation
- An evaluation of other signs of atlas misalignment
After the doctor assesses the degree of misalignment, very light adjustments are performed to fix the problem. This initial treatment may provide relief to the symptoms that a patient is complaining about. When the muscles and ligaments are adjusted, patients start enjoying the benefits of lesser pain and swelling of the affected areas and no more migraines if that was an issue for them prior to the adjustment.
What are the conditions treatable by NUCCA procedure?
The NUCCA technique is effective in treating the following illnesses:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Tensed muscles
- Digestive problem (upset stomach)
- Herniated disc
Why is NUCCA better than Cortisone shots?
If we compare the adverse side effects that could arise when utilizing cortisone shots, this invasive medical procedure poses more harm and danger to the patient. The NUCCA technique doesn’t in any way deliver harmful side effects. In fact, chiropractic is proven to be an effective long-term solution in treating pain. Cortisone shots can provide temporary relief to the patient symptoms, but it will not fully resolve the problem.
With NUCCA, the approach is to identify the underlying problem that is causing the pain or discomfort and treat it rather than masking the symptoms. NUCCA is considered to be a safe chiropractic care treatment unlike other medical procedures where a high percentage of these medications are expected to produce adverse side effects to the patient and cortisone shots are among them.
NUCCA is a non-invasive approach, meaning no drug is administered during the actual treatment program. The patient may only experience very minimal or no pain at all. A patient about to undergo a cortisone shot may receive anesthetic spray to numb the area to be injected. Pain and swelling may occur on the injected area and could last for one or two days. Apart from that, expect other complications to take place, like elevated blood sugar levels, which is alarming if not monitored among patients with diabetes. Infection could develop on the injected part of the skin.
NUCCA is advisable to anyone, regardless of your age, whether you are a child or already at the prime of your adult life. The elderly are also ideal candidates for chiropractic because of the gentle approach applied. NUCCA aims to properly align the spine without any surgery, making it the best option for all ages.
NUCCA chiropractic care can treat various illnesses like allergies, asthma, arthritis, all types of muscle or joint pain (back pain, sciatic pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, headaches, migraines, neck pain and other forms of chronic pain). It can also treat conditions like depression or stress.
Do you want to know if you are an ideal candidate for NUCCA? Misalignment of the spine could sprout many illnesses in the long run if not given prompt attention like distorted body posture (scoliosis), tensed muscles and/or worn out joints. Don’t let your spinal column deteriorate, find out more about the healing benefits of NUCCA by booking a consultation with one of our doctors today.
NUCCA can guarantee positive results right after the initial treatment and benefits more with regular follow-up appointments with your doctor.