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Isabel Huang, M.D. Answers Questions On Shoulder Injections

Isabel Huang, M.D. Answers Questions On: Shoulder Injections

Why types of shoulder injections do you perform?

I treat pain and inflammation in the shoulder often caused by bursitis or arthritis, or possibly an injury to the shoulder causing muscle pain. Typically, I inject pain medications such as steroids to help break the cycle of pain, which not only allows pain relief but also helps many patients tolerate physical therapy.

How long does a steroid injection for pain last?

It depends on the patient. Some patients need only one injection. I usually say, “Come back and see me when your pain returns.” Patients who have severe arthritis in their shoulders are going to have recurring pain, so they may see me every three months. That’s the earliest we can repeat a steroid injection.

Why every three months?

If you do it more than every three months, it causes too much immunosuppression in that joint. Steroids can also exacerbate medical comorbidities, such as diabetes, so I definitely consider all the aspects of someone’s health before deciding to do an injection.

Are there any potential complications patients should know about before they receive a shoulder injection?

Every procedure has potential complications, risks, and benefits. Any time a patient gets an injection, there’s the risk of pain, bleeding, infection, and damage to surrounding structures. What’s unique about my practice is that I use ultrasound guidance, which decreases the risk of hitting a surrounding structure.