New Shoulder Study: An Alternative to Cortisone Injection

A May, a new study was published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery which suggests an alternative to cortisone injection for people with shoulder pain.  For years, cortisone injections were given to patients with longstanding shoulder pain, because it works effectively to decrease inflammation.  This new study looked at a different medication, called toradol, to decrease inflammation in shoulder pain.  The researchers compared an injection of toradol with an injection of cortisone for people with pain in their shoulder. 

The result:  both medications worked to decrease pain and improve function.  However, the patients who received the toradol injection had better improvement in function and pain at the four-week mark compared with those who received cortisone. 

This information is quite useful, showing that there is an alternative to cortisone for patients with shoulder pain.  In my practice, I usually use toradol injections for patients who have not had benefit from cortisone.  This study may change my practice, and I may be more likely to recommend toradol instead of cortisone.  However, it is possible that the type of cortisone injection matters:  I use a long-acting cortisone medication, while this study did not.  Also, cortisone injections may give quicker pain relief, important for someone with significant pain.

Overall, though, this study is good news for those with shoulder pain, expanding the options for treatment.  To read more, here's the link to the study:

For more on cortisone injections, here's a previous blog post: