Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Published on January 2, 2012 by in Procedures








Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Dysfunction: There are symmetrical sacroiliac joints on each side of your pelvis, and if these joints become inflamed or diseased, they could be another cause of back pain. Some experts believe up to 25-30% of low back pain come from SIJ dysfunction. Patients with SIJ pain usually describe pain localized to the buttock/low back area. This pain often spreads to the hip, thigh, and groin. In some cases, it may even radiate down the leg. SIJ pain is often confused with hip pain or even “sciatica”. Unlike many spinal pain disorder, there is no definitive radiological or blood test to diagnose SIJ pain. Your doctor uses your symptoms and physical exam to diagnose SIJ pain (e.g. sacroiliitis).

Sacroiliac Joint Injections: One very effective treatment for SIJ pain is to inject a combination of steroid and local anesthetic into the affected joint. Often, this procedure is both “diagnostic” (i.e. confirm the diagnosis of SIJ pain) and “therapeutic” (i.e. provide pain relief).

Technique: At SCCPM, SIJ injections are performed at the surgery center under live x-ray (fluoroscopy) for safety and accuracy.  The doctor may order IV sedation (i.e. “twilight sleep”) as an option for your comfort.  You will be checked in at the surgery center and brought into the operating suite, where you will be greeted by the doctor and registered nurse.  After placing monitors (e.g. blood pressure cuff, EKG, pulse oximeter, etc) on you, the nurse will give you IV sedation (if ordered).  Afterwards, the doctor will begin by “numbing” the injection site with a local anesthetic.  Afterward, with the aid of the fluoroscope, Dr. Lee will perform the actual injection(s), in which a local anesthetic and steroid combination is injected.  After appropriate monitoring, you will then be transferred to the recovery unit before going home with a family member or friend.  You are encouraged to “take it easy” for the rest of the day, and to follow the post-procedure instructions ordered by Dr. Lee.  You will be able to resume your normal activities the next day.
Pain Relief Response and Duration: Most patients can expect SIJ injection(s) either alone or in a series to provide relief for months and even years, in some cases. But, like any medication, the steroid will “wear off” with time and you may require repeat injection(s). Unfortunately, Dr. Lee cannot give you a prediction on how long your pain relief will be, as different patients respond differently.

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