A doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections for the shoulder to decrease inflammation and provide pain relief, according to WebMD. Corticosteroid injections are usually used when traditional treatments such as physical therapy, rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or application of ice or heat fail to provide relief.
A physician may inject an anesthetic into the shoulder to diagnose a condition, states WebMD. If the anesthetic reduces the pain and allows the shoulder to become mobile again, the pain may be caused by a rotator cuff disease. If the shoulder remains weak after the anesthetic has been injected, it is likely a tear in the rotator cuff. The anesthetic typically wears off within four to six hours.
Corticosteroid injections may be given to alleviate shoulder pain temporarily, allowing the patient to perform physical therapy or exercise, notes WebMD. Injections are usually given for tendinitis or bursitis in the shoulder. Corticosteroid injections usually take a day or two to provide relief from pain. It is not known if corticosteroid shots are more effective than other treatments, as of 2015.
If pain or swelling occurs after the injection, ice should be applied for up to 20 minutes at a time. If side effects such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, tongue or lips occur, it is important to seek immediate medical attention, notes WebMD.