How many of us have not heard of cortisone, and we probably all know someone who has had a cortisone injection or is about to have one?

The answer is probably most of us. I grew up in an era where the cortisone injection was commonly used in shoulders and elbows for ailments such as frozen shoulder or tennis elbow. I recall my mother having a diagnosis of tennis elbow from her doctor and being prescribed a cortisone injection. These injections are directly into the affected joint, and I understand are quite painful. Fortunately my mother went to an osteopath instead and her tennis elbow was managed and eliminated that way without the need for such a painful solution as a cortisone injection.

I still see clients who have been having cortisone injections every three months or so . The drawback of cortisone is that it only provides temporary relief from the pain. As Kevin R Stone points out in his article1 “Cortisone is naturally produced by the adrenal gland in the body and influences the functioning of most of the body’s systems and the drug has been injected into every swollen joint, every inflamed tendon, sore back, and aching body. The anti-inflammatory nature of the drug soothed the pain and reduced the swelling, yet permitted further injury time and time again.”

Kevin further points out “that a cortisone injection interferes with the body’s natural healing process, which works like this: When tissues are overused, overstretched or torn, the cells of those tissues release factors that recruit blood vessels, stem cells and healing factors. With that in rush of fluid (cortisone), the tissue temporarily swells. Over time, with the laying down of new collagen, the protein that makes up most of our body, the injured tissue heals. Some tissues heal normally others with scar tissue that over time often can remodel into normal tissue.

Cortisone shuts down this cellular recruitment process, reducing swelling, but unfortunately inhibiting healing. The result is that the weakened tissues stay in the weakened state for a longer period of time. This panacea drug has always had this hidden harmful risk.”

Interfering with the body’s natural healing process does not sound like a good thing to me. Sure in the short term, the pain goes after the injection for a few weeks, months if you are lucky, but by masking the pain the fact that something is wrong is also being masked. Great for a time, but when you reflect, you realise that unless the source problem is addressed and corrected, nothing has really changed. The body produces inflammation for a reason, a very good reason too. Inflammation is the body’s response to a trauma, and by allowing the inflammation process, the body can then send all the cells it needs to fight and heal the inflammation and repair the trauma. Thankfully Kevin has reported “Fortunately the cortisone era is over. We have realised that the best response to tissue injury is to stimulate stronger healing, to feed the cells that are trying to repair the injury, and to recruit more progenitor or stem cells to guide the complex healing process . This tissue stimulation is done by a combination of careful early tissue mobilisation, often performed by expert physical therapists, by early joint and tissue controlled exercises that stimulate repair rather than irritate the injury, and by direct application of growth factors and sometimes stem cells.”

Tissue mobilisation done as soon as possible allows the body the best and fastest chance to heal and repair. Bowen Fascial Release Technique is that, a therapy that will simulate and mobilise the tissue. What are you waiting for, why are you suffering, call me and start the healing process.