Unexplained pain in the area around your pelvis and lower spine? You might need a sacroiliac joint injection to ease your pain.
What is a sacroiliac joint injection?
The sacrum is the triangular bone that sits between each of the hip bones, and this is connected to the spine with the sacroiliac joints, with one joint on either side. When an individual experiences inflammation or dysfunction of the joint, this can lead to pain, or sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Pain caused by the sacroiliac joint (or SI joint) can feel both dull and sharp, and can spread to your buttocks, thighs, and upper back. This kind of pain is usually characterized as pain that is most intense in the morning, and which is triggered by standing up after long bouts of sitting or lying down. Roughly 20-30% of people who report these characteristics are experiencing issues with their sacroiliac joint.
This pain is caused by inflammation, which can happen because of sports or exercise injuries. If you have bad form during weight lifting or jogging, you might damage your sacroiliac joint. This can also be caused by pregnancy and arthritis. The sacroiliac joint injection works to reduce inflammation and is used for two purposes: to diagnose and to relieve pain.
When would I need a sacroiliac joint injection?
The two purposes of a sacroiliac joint injection are to diagnose the cause of the pain and to provide short-term or long-term pain relief. While both types of injections can be administered together, they can also be injected separately if necessary.
Diagnosing the pain: A diagnostic injection helps doctors understand the source of the pain. This injection works by targeting the sacroiliac joint with a local anesthetic to numb it. With the help of fluoroscopy and contrast, the doctor injects the anesthetic into the joint.
The patient is then asked to perform the usual activities that trigger their pain, and the doctor takes note of the level of their pain (or if the pain still exists at all). A second injection may be administered afterward with a different medication to confirm any suspicions. If results are similar, the doctor can confidently diagnose the cause of the joint pain.
Pain relief: Instead of a local anesthetic, the joint is injected with an anti-inflammatory medication that reduces the joint’s inflammation, thus reducing any pain.
Before the Procedure
The sacroiliac joint injection procedure is fairly simple and requires little preparation. It is important that your doctor is aware of any medications you are currently taking and your complete medical history.