Corticosteroid vs. anaesthetic injections for shoulder pain
Rotator cuff-related shoulder pain (RCRSP) is an umbrella term which includes other conditions such as subacromial impingement syndrome, subacromial pain syndrome and rotator cuff tendinopathy.
A common symptom treatment for RCRSP is injection therapy where corticosteroid (CS) is administered to the site. More commonly the CS is prepared with anaesthetics prior to administration. Diagnostically, anaesthetics are administered to alleviate pain in the shoulder.
This review examined the effectiveness of injection of CS compared to anaesthetics for relieving RCRSP.
13 studies were selected for comparison between CS and anaesthetics injection therapy on pain reduction. The comparisons were made in the short-term (0-12 weeks), mid-term (13-26 weeks) and long-term (≥ 1 year).
In the short-term, the study found strong evidence for a significant benefit of CS over anaesthetic only injection for the first 4-8 weeks. In mid-term, there is strong evidence for no significant difference in outcome between injection types. In the long-term, the study found limited evidence to suggest that there is no significant difference between injection types.
This review concludes that CS injections may have a short-term benefit over local anaesthetic injections in the management of RCRSP.
> From: Cook et al., Br J Sports Med 52 (2018) 497-504. All rights reserved to BMJ Publishing Group Ltd. Click here for the online summary.