Shoulder Injections

A shoulder injection can significantly relieve your shoulder pain and inflammation. 


Shoulder injections may be used for therapeutic purposes, as well as diagnostic purposes. Diagnostic joint injection can help determine whether the shoulder pain involves the rotator cuff or subacromial bursa, or whether the pain is the result of osteoarthritis or injury. If the pain subsides following a diagnostic joint injection, then a therapeutic injection will likely offer longer-term pain relief. 

A shoulder injection usually contains a corticosteroid and hyaluronans. The corticosteroid portion of a shoulder injection reduces swelling and inflammation in the joint, while hyaluronans coat the pain receptors, lubricate the joint, stimulate endogenous synovial fluid production and also have anti-inflammatory properties. When a corticosteroid and hyaluronan shoulder injection is used in conjunction with rehabilitative physical therapy, lasting relief from pain is often seen. 

Shoulder Injection Procedure

Shoulder injections are performed with guidance from x-ray or other image.  A posterior or anterior approach may be employed, depending on the location of the injury. For pain associated with bursitis, tendinitis or a rotator cuff injury, the needle may be inserted from the top of the shoulder. When injecting the shoulder, the tendon and groove are typically marked on the skin, then the point of injection is marked. The swollen sheath surrounding the injured tendon is injected with the fluids, and, hopefully, the pain is alleviated.  

Potential Risks of Shoulder Injections

While shoulder injections are considered a relatively safe procedure, there are occasional negative side effects, including:

  • Cortisone flare—pain and swelling which occurs when the cortisone medication crystallizes inside the body. The pain from cortisone flare can potentially be worse than the pain from the condition being treated, and lasts from one to three days. 
  • Discoloration of the skin at the injection site, which can be permanent, but is not harmful. 
  • A potentially dangerous spike in blood sugar, caused by the corticosteroid in the injection. 
  • Allergic reactions to the anesthesia, while rare, are possible.
  • Infection is always a potential risk any time the skin is punctured. 

If you are considering a shoulder injection, it could be extremely beneficial to speak to an experienced Seattle Pain interventional pain management specialist. At Seattle Pain we will evaluate your injury and pain levels, developing a comprehensive pain treatment program which could include shoulder injections to address your shoulder pain.

Are you struggling to find relief from uncontrolled shoulder pain? 

Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists

We understand that severe and chronic shoulder pain can significantly reduce your overall quality of life. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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