Sacroiliac joint (SI joint) pain arises from degenerative changes within the SI joint. These changes may cause inflammation. The mainstay of treatment is anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, osteopathic manipulation and activity modification. If these treatments fail to provide adequate pain relief, injections may be considered. SI joint injections may also be used as a diagnostic evaluation. If the pain decreases significantly after the injection, this helps to verify the joint as a source of pain. Injections may provide temporary pain relief or the pain may remain reduced for a long period of time. The injection may also encourage further procedures such as neurotomy for longer-term pain relief once the joint to found to be the pain generator.
Before the Procedure
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to your injection.
- Discontinue all medications after midnight before your injection. If you are on routine medications for heart, blood pressure or diabetes, you can take your medication, as usual, the morning of your injection with a sip of water.
During the Procedure
- You will be lying on a table in a procedure room.
- The skin in the area where the injection will be made will be cleaned.
- A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area of the injection.
- Fluoroscopy, a method used to make images, will be used as the physician passes the needle into the SI joint.
- A mixture of anesthetic and a steroid (similar to cortisone) is injected into the SI joint(s).
- The injection procedure will take about 30 minutes.
After the Procedure
- You will be in a recovery room for about 30 minutes.
- It is important that you have someone to drive you home.
- It is common to experience an increase in pain once the numbing medicine wears off.
- The steroid does not become effective for 24-36 hours.
- Activity should be restricted for the first 4-5 days after the injection.