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What is a sacroiliac joint injection?
A sacroiliac (SI) joint injection is a treatment to help patients with pain in the buttocks, lower back and hips. These joints connect the bottom of your spine to your pelvis and provide support for the lower part of your body and your back. Normal wear and tear an injury can cause these joints to become swollen. A sacroiliac joint injection involves two medications – one to numb the joints and a steroid to decrease swelling and reduce pain.
How is the procedure performed?
You will lie on your stomach on a table. Then the area to be treated will be cleaned and covered with a special sheet. This will help keep the area free of bacteria. Before the procedure starts, a doctor will inject you with a local anesthetic. This will numb the skin over the area that will be treated. Then your doctor will inject the numbing medication and the steroid medication in the joint(s). You may feel some pressure when the medications will be injected. Throughout the procedure, your doctor will use a special X-ray machine to help view your joints. In addition, he injects a substance called contrast, which will highlight the joints on the X-rays. The entire procedure should take about 10 – 15 minutes.
Possible sacroiliac joint injection side effects
An SI joint injection is generally considered safe. The most common side effect is soreness in the injected area. The soreness will go away once the steroid starts to work. Also, your leg may feel numb (temporarily) from the local anesthetic. This may make it hard to walk for 3 – 4 hours.
When should I expect pain relief?
You may feel relief from your pain right away because of the numbing medication. However, this medication will wear off 3–4 hours after your procedure, and your pain will probably return to some degree. You will have longer pain relief once the steroid medication starts to work. This could take up to 2 weeks after the procedure.