What is the SI joint?
The SI joint, which is an abbreviation for sacroiliac joint, is located in the area of the lower back where the spine meets the pelvis. It is the joint between sacrum, which is a triangular bone in the lower back that’s composed of fused vertebrae, and the ilium, which is often referred to as the hip bones.
What is a SI joint injection?
A SI joint injection is a medical procedure during which a mixture comprised of pain blockers and numbing medications is injected into the sacroiliac joint. The procedure is employed to alleviate or reduce pain in the area.
Why would I have sacroiliac joint injection treatment?
You would undergo sacroiliac-joint injection treatment if it has been determined that you are suffering from SI joint dysfunction or an associated condition. A correct diagnosis is important, as symptoms of SI joint dysfunction and associated conditions are similar to other painful disorders that involve the spine. You would not undergo this treatment if your pain were the result of disorder that will not respond appropriately.
What results should I expect from a SI joint injection?
Overall, you should expect to find relief from your pain, as over 90% of patients treated for SI joint dysfunction and associated conditions report that their pain has been alleviated and other symptoms have also been eradicated or reduced.
What will occur prior to my SI joint treatment?
Before undergoing SI joint injection, your doctor will take your full medical history and will examine you to determine if you have a condition that will respond to this type of treatment. Imaging, such as x-rays, and lab tests will most likely be utilized. Also, your physician will need to know of any medications, herbal remedies, and supplements that you are taking and any allergies that you may have.
What is the procedure for a sacroiliac joint injection?
The procedure for sacroiliac joint injection is performed in a doctor’s office or hospital on an outpatient basis. The procedure includes the following steps.
- The patient changes into a hospital gown
- They lie facedown on a procedural table
- The area where the injection is to be made is cleansed
- The patient may be sedated and a topical anesthetic is administered
- Vital signs are monitored throughout the procedure
- An x-ray device that allows the doctor to see real-time images of the area to be injected may be used in order to ensure accuracy in terms of needle placement
- A contrast dye may be injected to confirm that the medications are contacting the targeted nerves
- Then the medicinal mixture is injected into the SI joint
The entire procedure takes approximately 30 minutes. After the procedure the patient will remain under observation for about one hour before being allowed to go home. If sedation has been used, they will need to have someone on-hand to ensure their safe return to their home.
How long do the effects of SI joint injections last?
Initially, patients feel relief from pain due to the anesthetic. This temporary effect wears off after a day. It then takes two to three days for the patient to feel the effects of the injection. Often with the first treatment, they will experience relief from pain lasting from a few days to several weeks. Additional treatments will then provide longer periods of relief, which often last several months.
What are the risks and possible side effects associated with the procedure?
Because SI joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure the risks are low and side effects tend to be minimal. At the SI joint injection site, one may experience slight swelling, bruising, and bleeding. Other remote risks include an allergic reaction to the medication and nerve, blood vessel, or bone damage from a needle not properly inserted.
There is also the slight chance that an infection may occur. If the injection site becomes hot to touch, continues to swell, or discharges a sizeable amount of fluid or blood, contact your physician immediately. Also, any sign of fever should be reported.
Some patients may have a reaction to the anesthetic, which can include flushing, chest or abdominal discomfort, nausea and/or the development of a rash.