What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?
The sacroiliac joint is a large joint in the region of the low back and buttocks where the pelvis actually joins with the spine. If the joints become painful they may cause pain in the low back, buttocks, abdomen, groin or legs. A sacroiliac joint injection serves several purposes. First, by placing numbing medicine into the joint, the amount of immediate relief experienced will help confirm or deny the joint as a source of pain. Additionally, the temporary relief of the numbing medicine may better allow a chiropractor or physical therapist to treat that joint. Also, time release cortisone (steroid) will help to reduce any inflammation that may exist within the joint(s).
What happens during the procedure?
You are placed on the X-ray table on your stomach in such a way that the physician can best visualize these joints in the back using X-ray guidance. The skin on the low back is scrubbed using two types of sterile scrub (soap). Next, the physician numbs a small area of skin with numbing medicine. This medicine stings for several seconds. After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, the physician directs a very small needle, using X-ray guidance into the joint. A small amount of contrast (dye) is injected to ensure proper needle position inside the joint space. Then, a small mixture of numbing medicine (anesthetic) and anti-inflammatory (cortisone/steroid) is injected. One or several joints may be injected depending, on location of your usual pain.
What happens after the procedure?
Immediately after the procedure, you will walk around and try to imitate something that would normally bring about your usual pain. You are then asked to report the percentage of pain relief and record the relief experienced during the next week on a post-injection evaluation sheet (“pain diary”). This will be given to you when you are discharged to gohome. Your leg(s) may feel numb for a few hours. This is fairly uncommon, but does occasionally happen. You may be referred to a chiropractor or physical therapist immediately after the injection(s) while the numbing medicine is still working for manipulation or massage. If you get good relief but of short duration, you may be a candidate for radiofrequency lesioning (RFR).
General Pre/Post Instructions
You should have nothing to eat for seven hours prior to your procedure. Clear liquids can be taken up to four hours prior to your procedure. Please take your routine medications (i.e., high blood pressure and diabetic medications) with a sip of water at your usual time. If you are on Coumadin, Heparin, Plavix, or any other blood thinners you must notify the office so the timing of these medications can be explained. For your own safety, if you do not follow the above instructions your procedure may be cancelled. A driver must accompany you and be responsible for getting you home. No driving is allowed the day of the procedure. You may return to your normal activities the day after the procedure, including returning to work.