Background to Sacroiliac Joint Injections

SI joint injections are used to either diagnose or treat low back pain thought to be due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. There are two sacroiliac joints, one on the each side. The joints are below the lumbar spine and connect the sacrum(tailbone) to the pelvis(hips). Two types of Injections can be performed to the SI joint, to either diagnose or treat SI joint pain. A diagnostic injection will generally only include a numbing medication. A therapeutic injection will contain both a numbing agent and a corticosteroid (cortisone-like anti-inflammatory medication).

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SI joint injections require use of x-ray to precisely place the needle. Therefore, if you are pregnant, please inform your physician prior to the procedure. The amount of x-ray exposure is within recommended safe limits for adults, but can be hazardous to the developing fetus.

If you are on blood thinners or anticoagulants, please notify your physician. Special precautions, pre-procedure laboratory testing or medication adjustments may be deemed necessary. However, do not stop your medication without consulting with your physician.

You will require a driver after the procedure as it may be unsafe to operate a vehicle.

Notify your physician of any allergies you may have.

Before the procedure:

You must have your usual pain (greater than 4 on a pain scale of 0-10) prior to the injection so that an accurate post injection assessment can be made. Do not take your pain medication that day if it will make your pain less than 4 out of 10. Prior to the injection, a record of your pain severity and location will be made. Rarely is sedation required.

During the procedure:

You will be placed onto a special table for the procedure. After cleansing the skin, a small needle will be directed precisely into the SI joint. Contrast dye is injected to ensure appropriate spread of the medication into the joint. After the contrast dye is injected, the numbing and/or corticosteroid will then be injected. There is generally a brief duration of minimal discomfort during the procedure. If you become lightheaded during the procedure, let your physician know.

After the procedure:

Your skin will be cleansed and a bandage applied as necessary. You will be taken to an observation area and monitored for any adverse reactions, which are very rare. Your usual pain will be re-assessed and documented. You will be given a pain diary to further document your pain upon discharge from the center. It is extremely important for your treatment that you complete and return the pain diary.

Side effects or complications:

Side effects are generally minimal and can include increased discomfort, local bruising, headache, nausea, fainting or dizziness. These symptoms are usually short-lived and will resolve themselves. More severe complications are rare such as infection, allergic reaction, or nerve injury.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at (610) 954-9400.