Shoulder Injections

The shoulder is a large joint that connects the bones of the arm to the chest.

Shoulder pain can have a number of causes, including injury, arthritis and/or overuse. You may feel pain in the shoulder at rest, and the pain increases with activity or movement.

A shoulder injection may help reduce your pain.

You will have this procedure in the Northwestern Medicine Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine Clinic.

What to Expect During a Shoulder Injection

During the procedure:

  • You will most likely lie flat on a procedure table.
  • Your physician will use a very fine needle to inject a small amount of local anesthetic into the skin over the joint. This can help reduce discomfort during the procedure.
  • They will then insert a different needle into the joint using X-ray or ultrasound guidance.
  • Once they place the needle into the joint, they will inject a small amount of numbing medicine (local anesthetic) and a steroid.

You will need to have someone drive you home after the procedure. You can return to normal activity the next day.

You may have pain relief almost immediately from the local anesthetic, but this may not last very long. The longer-term relief will come from the steroid, which can take several days to take effect.