Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injection
The sacroiliac (also called the SI) joint connects the sacrum and the iliac bone in your lower back and buttocks region. It is one of the larger joints in the body and its wavy surface fits together like a gear. Very little motion occurs in the SI joint, and the motion that does occur is a combination of sliding, tilting and rotating. When it becomes irritated, it can cause pain in the immediate region or it can send pain into your groin, abdomen, hip, buttock or leg.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections can help identify the source of your pain. By placing numbing medicine into the joint, the amount of immediate pain relief you experience will help confirm or deny the joint as a source of your pain. If numbing the SI joint causes complete relief of your primary pain, it means this joint is most likely your pain source. Even if the SI joint is not the primary source of pain, the time-release cortisone that is injected into the joint can reduce inflammation which can provide longer-term pain relief or allow you to begin physical therapy or other treatments recommended by your physician.
What to Expect
- We’ll contact you prior to your appointment to review current medications, your medical history, and potential risks. We’ll also be happy to answer any of your questions.
- Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- Contact your doctor before you stop taking any medication.
- On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early to check in.
- Please arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.
- Although complications are rare, we will review possible side effects and risks with you prior to your exam so you can ask questions and decide if this exam is right for you.
- When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
- You will lie on an X-ray table and the skin in the targeted area will be cleaned and then numbed with a local anesthetic, similar to what a dentist uses.
- Using fluoroscopy (live X-ray) for guidance, a radiologist will insert a needle into the skin and direct it toward the joint. This imaging helps confirm the accuracy of the location.
- Contrast material is injected into the SI joint that is causing your pain, highlighting the space to guide the steroid injection
- Then the radiologist slowly releases a combination of anti-inflammatory (steroid) and anesthetic (numbing) medications into the joint.
- Following the injection, you will rest for 20-30 minutes. Then, you may be asked to move your back to try to provoke your usual pain.
- When your procedure is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
- You may be asked to report your remaining pain and also record the relief you experience.
- On the day of the injection, you should not drive and should avoid any strenuous activities.
- Specific recovery instructions will be provided at the time of your appointment.
- The radiologist will review your images and provide your doctor with a detailed report.