What is a sacroiliac joint injection?

The sacroiliac joint is located where the bottom of the spine, the sacrum, joins with the ilium, or hip bone. Inflammation of the SI joint is a common cause of back pain. Sacroiliac pain can be caused by pregnancy, gout, fracture, infection, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions. An injection of local anesthetic and steroids into the SI joint can help reduce or eliminate your pain.

Am I a candidate for sacroiliac joint injection?

You are a candidate for an SI joint injection if you have significant back pain from an unknown cause that has not responded to other treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and ice/heat therapy. SI joint injections can be used to diagnose and treat the cause of lower back pain. You are not a candidate for an SI joint injection if you are severely allergic to local anesthetics, contrast dye, or steroids. Additionally, if you have problems with bleeding or clotting, or have an infection of your blood or the skin near the injection site you should not undergo SI joint injection. Be sure to tell your doctor if you take blood thinners such as heparin, Coumadin, or aspirin. You will likely be told to stop taking those medications prior to the procedure, but never stop taking blood thinners without being instructed to do so by your provider. Tell your doctor if you are or might be pregnant; this procedure might not be safe for you.

How long will the sacroiliac joint injection procedure take?

The time needed for a sacroiliac joint injection is minimal. You may be given an anxiety medication like Valium to help relax you during the procedure. Your skin will be cleansed and numbed with a local anesthetic. After your skin is cleaned and numbed, a needle will be inserted into the sacroiliac joint. Contrast dye is injected into the joint space and fluoroscopy, or real-time x-ray, is used to be sure the steroids and local anesthetic are injected into the correct spot. Once the steroids and local anesthetic are injected, your pain will be assessed.

How long will it take to recover from sacroiliac joint injection?

Following a sacroiliac joint injection, you may experience relief immediately, or it may take a few hours or days. You will be observed for roughly fifteen minutes following the procedure for signs of allergic reaction. Additionally, your pain level will be assessed once more before leaving. There are no activity restrictions following an SI joint injection. You may experience some soreness at the injection site for a few days; this will subside. It is possible that you will need more than one injection to attain full relief.