Pain Management: Sacroiliac Joint Injection

Right next to your spine lies your sacroiliac joints which connect the sacrum to the hip on both sides. There is a sacroiliac joint on both the left and the right sides – and inflammation or dysfunction in this joint can cause great pain.

One method of treatment for this pain is a sacroiliac joint injection.

What is a sacroiliac joint injection?

Also known as a sacroiliac joint block, this specific injection is generally used to treat or diagnose back pain experienced in the lower back or symptoms of sciatica which is relative to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Sometimes, the two purposes of the injection – diagnosis and therapeutic pain relief – are completed at separate times. During the time of the injection, for either purpose, the patient receives a purely therapeutic or purely diagnostic injection – however, the two can easily be combined into one injection and oftentimes are.

Injection for Diagnostic Purposes

If done to diagnose inflammation or dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint, a diagnostic SI joint injection is used. First, the sacroiliac joint is numbed using a local anesthetic. Then, the sacroiliac joint injection is administered using the guidance of an x-ray to ensure accuracy. Following the entrance of the needle into the joint, contrast is injected to ensure proper placement and spread of medication. Lastly, the numbing medicine is injected into the sacroiliac joint.

Following the administering of the numbing medication, the physician will request the patient attempt to initiate the pain by engaging in activities which are normally painful. A tentative diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction is made if the patient experiences 75-80 percent pain relief. However, if this is not the case, a second diagnostic injection must be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Injection for Pain Relief Purposes

If the injection is for pain relief purposes, a therapeutic SI joint injection is done. This injection uses the same technique as the diagnostic SI join injection – previously discussed above. However, the one differentiating factor is that the medication administered includes anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the inflammation and therefore, reduce the pain.

If the patient continues to experience relief for a prolonged time following the therapeutic injection, they can begin a rehabilitation program or physical therapy.

What to Expect Post-Injection

After the injection has been administered, the patient is usually required to stay for about 30 minutes just to ensure there are no immediate adverse side effects, such as an allergic reaction or numbness and weakness of the legs. Following the procedure, the doctor will also assess the patient’s pain level to ensure efficiency of the therapeutic injection.

While recommendations might differ based on each patient’s situation and the physician’s preferred instructions, a few common suggestions include:

  • Avoid excessive activities the day of the procedure – especially if you were sedated during the process.
  • Pay close attention to the list of symptoms and warning signs provided which might require medical attention.
  • Continue to drink plenty of water to help flush the dye out of the body which was used in the fluoroscopy.

Dr. Zed at All Star Pain Management offers comprehensive nonoperative back pain, including discomfort resulting from the sacroiliac joint. This includes SI joint injections, which may consist of cortisone or a regenerative material such as PRP or stem cells. Most insurance is accepted, call All Star Pain today. There are pain clinics in Annapolis and Glen Burnie.