Sacroiliac Joint Injection
A sacroiliac (SI) joint injection is performed to diagnose and relieve pain that may be caused by arthritis in the sacroiliac joint, where the spine and hip bone meet. The steroid medication can reduce swelling and inflammation in the joint.
What You Need To Know About Sacroiliac Joint Injections
What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?
SI joint injections are used to treat lower back or sciatica pain caused by an inflamed sacroiliac joint. The procedure's goal is to confirm the source of pain as the SI joint while also relieving the pain.
The solution injected in the SI joint is a combination of a local anesthetic and corticosteroid. The injection is not a permanent solution, but it may provide long-lasting relief and help your physician correctly diagnose the source of your back or sciatica pain. In more severe cases where this therapy doesn't relieve pain, a procedure called an SI joint fusion may be an effective alternative.
To learn more about SI joint injections, book an appointment with a Resurgens spine specialist now!
Why is SI Joint Injection Procedure Performed?
There are two purposes of a SI joint injection: Help a physician correctly diagnose the source of a patient's pain and deliver immediate relief. Sometimes, these purposes can be separated so that a patient first receives a diagnostic injection before receiving a pain relieving injection, but typically they are combined.
How to Prepare for a SI Joint Injection Procedure
To prepare for a SI joint injection procedure, the patient should not eat solid foods or consume fluids after midnight before the scheduled visit. People with diabetes should refrain from taking medication before the procedure and check blood sugar levels at home.
Patients regularly taking blood thinners, such as Warfarin or Plavix, should stop treatment before the procedure. Also, patients battling an active infection, such as a cold or flu, should hold off on an injection until they feel better. Consult with your physician to learn more about possible preventive measures you should take prior to a SI joint injection.
What Happens During a SI Joint Injection Procedure?
To begin the procedure, the patient lies face down. A cushion is placed under the stomach for comfort and to arch the back. The physician uses touch and a fluoroscope, an instrument that helps your physician see clearly, to find the sacroiliac joint. A local anesthetic numbs the skin and all the tissue down to the surface of the sacroiliac joint.
The physician advances a needle through the anesthetized track and into the sacroiliac joint. A steroid-anesthetics mix is injected into the sacroiliac joint, bathing the painful area in medication. The doctor will remove the needle and place a small bandage to cover the tiny surface wound.
The combination of the anesthetic and corticosteroid will help reduce inflammation and provide several months of pain relief. The entire procedure lasts about 30 minutes. Patients may take multiple injections but should not have more than three injections within a six-month period.
Are there Risks Associated with SI Joint Injection?
Like most medical procedures, there are some risks associated with SI joint injections. The most common include:
Risk of bleeding
Infection or allergic reaction to the medication
Temporary numbness or weakness in legs
Bruising or soreness near the injection site
Your doctor will be able to give you a more detailed description of potential risks and side effects.
Post SI Joint Injection & Recovery
The steroid medication may take between two and three days to take full effect. The anti-inflammatory steroid should relieve pain in the sacroiliac joint for up to several months. Patients should also pursue physical therapy to continue to repair their inflamed joints. Patients should not drive for the rest of the day following the procedure and avoid heat near the injected area. Consult with your physician concerning possible dietary restrictions or medications to take. However, most patients can resume their normal daily routine following the procedure.
Learn more about the Spine Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.