California Center of Longevity Medicine
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Los Angeles Longevity & Functional Medicine Doctor

Dr. Allan Kurtz

Board Certified Internal Medicine
Fellowship in Functional Medicine

Heart Attack and Stroke
Prevention Center of Southern California

Health Tips Blog

The Dangers of Cortisone (Steroid) Injections in Treating Arthritis in the Joints

By: California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine on October 27, 2019

Millions of men and women have received cortisone (aka: steroid) injections for treatment of joint pain caused by arthritis. Many of them experience relief, and as such conventional medicine readily prescribes steroid injections to treat symptoms of pain, swelling, bone destruction, and cartilage loss in the joint.

However, what most practitioners don’t tell patients dealing with pain in the joints of the shoulder, hip, or knee, is that cortisone has actually proven to be toxic to cartilage. In fact, cortisone increases the destruction of cartilage in the joint. Indeed, steroid injections may provide temporary relief from pain in the short term, but in the long term, you may be making the problem worse. Studies have repeatedly shown that cortisone shots for arthritis pain damage the cartilage in the joint. But until recently, the specific damage hadn’t been made clear. In the new study, released in October 2019, the four main adverse joint findings were listed as: "accelerated osteoarthritis (OA) progression, subchondral insufficiency fracture, complications of osteonecrosis, and rapid joint destruction including bone loss."

Why Are Cortisone Shots Used to Treat Joint Pain?

Cortisone/steroid shots are used because they can provide relief, in a non-surgical treatment. They can also prevent the need for pain medication. In other words, cortisone shots are used to delay the need for joint replacement.

It is true that cortisone shots help reduce inflammation. But at what price? The newest findings have shown that of more than 450 individuals who received steroid injections in the knee and the hip, one-tenth showed cartilage loss, bone loss, joint destruction and fractures within months of receiving the injections. (It’s worth noting though, that not all participants had their follow up imaging tests, suggesting the percentage may be significantly higher.)

Knowing that cortisone is toxic to cartilage but using it as a pain reliever is certainly a band-aid fix, which only treats the symptoms—not the cause—of pain from arthritis. In fact, it actually exacerbates the underlying damage, ultimately worsening the condition of your joint. This of course begs the question: Is there a better non-surgical solution to treat arthritis pain?

The answer for many people is a resounding yes! Stem cell injections and platelet rich plasma injections (collectively known as stem cell therapies) are a regenerative medicine therapy, which are available from Dr. Allan Kurtz in Woodland Hills to treat the pain at its source, instead of just masking the symptoms.

Stem Cell Therapy Treats the Source of Pain from Arthritis

Stem cell injections and platelet rich plasma injections available from Dr. Kurtz use your body’s own cells and plasma to provide pain relief without the risk of damage to your joints. Stem cells have the ability to develop into healthy new cells, replacing and repairing the damaged cells in the joint. Similarly, PRP injections deliver protein rich platelet plasma into injured/damaged areas, to boost regeneration. In other words, stem cell therapy and PRP work to heal the joint, boost growth of cartilage, and strengthen your joint.

Stem cell injections and PRP injections for joint pain and arthritis require virtually no downtime, following the in-office visit. You’ll be able to continue stretching and moving the joint, along with being able to exercise right away. This is important as being able to exercise and use your joints is vital to mobility and healing.

At the California Center of Longevity & Functional Medicine in Woodland Hills, Autologous, Ultrasound Guided Stem Cell Therapy, including PRP injections, are provided by Dr. Allan Kurtz, who is Fellowship Trained in Cell Therapy. Stem Cell Therapy is available during a standard office visit. The Center sees patients from the entire San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles/Ventura County areas.

Dr. Allan Kurtz specializes in creating ideal health and longevity plans for patients of all ages. With a focus on regenerative treatments, Dr. Kurtz is fellowship trained in Integrative and Functional Medicine, Dr. Kurtz is also a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kurtz, please call 818-346-1440 today.