Like all medications there are potential side effects. Some are minor and temporary and some rare but more significant.
- Localised bruising to the skin
- Whitening, or pigmentation of the skin
- Reduction of fat in that area (fat atrophy)
- Dizziness (1.2%)
- Flushing with a period of warmth for several days (2.6%)
- Increase pain
- Increased or lower blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Instability in your blood sugar (diabetic patients should inform their primary care physicians about the injection prior to their appointment)
- A reduction to your immune system
- Spinal fluid leak
Excessive or prolonged usage of steroids (not a single steroid injection) can cause cataracts – a rare result of excessive and/or prolonged steroid usage, or severe arthritis of the hips or shoulders (avascular necrosis).
Data collection and research has shown that the risk of severe injection is reported to be 0.1-0.01%. The risk of damage to nerves is between 0.1% and 0.001%. In many of these cases the symptoms do resolve within a few weeks or months.
Steroid injections should not be performed on patients who have a local or systemic bacterial infection, are pregnant (if fluoroscopy is used), or have bleeding problems.