Sacroiliac Joint Injection
Treating Patients in North Central Arkansas & South Central Missouri
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are located in the lower back and they connect
the spine and the pelvis. These joints, for the most part, are immobile
and they support our body weight when standing upright. Due to several
medical conditions and the pressure of constantly supporting our body
weight, the SI joints can get inflamed and lead to substantial amounts
of pain in the groin, hips, butt, lower back, all the way down to the
knees. The pain can become amplified when engaging in physical activities
or even when you are just walking from place to place. Pain in the SI
joints may be temporarily relieved when lying down, however. Arthritis
and inflammation located near the SI joints can often lead to a burning
feeling or stiffness in the pelvic area. Fortunately, this condition generally
does not require surgical operation and it can be resolved by applying
anti-inflammatory medication, home exercise in the form of physical therapy,
and SI joint injections.
Several medical conditions that are commonly treated using SI joint injections include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Degenerative bone disease
- Sacroiliitis: Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints
- Any condition causing an abnormal walking pattern
On the day of your scheduled procedure, please arrive at least 20 minutes
prior to the start time. Our nurses will get you set up with an IV if
you want sedation and then they will conduct a brief nurse pre-operation
assessment. After, you will be directed to lay down in a hospital bed
in the procedure room and given nitrous oxide gas and sedation for comfort.
At this point, we place a cold cleaning solution on all our patients to
lessen the risk of infection. Using x-ray guidance, your doctor will identify
the site for the procedure and inject a shot of numbing medication. This
shot may sting slightly, but the slight pain will subside briefly. Your
doctor will then place the epidural needle into the epidural space, injecting
dye to confirm proper needle placement. A mixture of local anesthetics
and steroid will be injected into the needle, thereby completely covering
the painful nerve fibers. The medication is intended to reduce pain and
inflammation and many patients report feeling as if warm water was being
run over their back and legs. This feeling is both normal and expected.
The needle will then be removed and you will be taken to a recovery room
for a brief, 15 minute period of observation. The procedure usually only
takes about 10-15 minutes and you will be free to leave and recover in
the comfort of your own home, after observation.
What You Should Expect Afterwards
The effects of the steroid should be felt within three to five days, but
it may take up to a week for some patients to feel its complete benefits.
Many patients report feeling their pain has alleviated and are able to
engage in physical activities they previously were unable to do, as a
result of the pain. Most patients’ bodies handle the steroids just
fine, but some may experience side effects like anxiety, difficulty sleeping,
temporary water retention, and changes in their menstrual cycle. If you
are diabetic, you may also experience elevated blood pressure for several
days. Fortunately, the side effects are typically mild and will disappear
over the course of the next few days.
SI joint injections have been perfected over the past few decades and they
are widely considered to be a safe and effective way to treat acute and
chronic pain conditions. Medical complications with the procedure are
extremely rare, but they could include allergic reactions, headaches,
bleeding, paralysis, infections, or damage to the nerves. Although not
all patients experience total pain relief with SI joint injections, the
injections frequently lead to a decrease in pain levels and improved functionality.
Used in conjunction with physical therapy, the beneficial effects of SI
joint injections can be felt more strongly. If you believe that you benefit
greatly from SI joint injections, you can get repeated injections to maintain
your lowered levels of pain and inflammation. In addition to physical
therapy, SI joint injections are typically used alongside other medications
to help maximize the SI joint injection’s benefits.
For more information regarding SI joint injections, please call Interventional
Pain Management, a department of BRMC, at (870) 508-5900.