Pain In the Lower Back Or Hips? SI Joint Injections May Help
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.
If the SI joint is confirmed as your source of pain, an anti-inflammatory medication (corticosteroid) is included with the injection to provide pain relief by reducing inflammation within the joint.
If the patient experiences prolonged pain relief after a therapeutic sacroiliac joint injection, he or she can begin a physical therapy and rehabilitation program to further reduce pain and return the patient to normal activity levels.
If the therapeutic sacroiliac joint injection is successful in reducing or eliminating the patient’s pain for a longer duration, it may be repeated up to three times per year, in conjunction with physical therapy and rehabilitation program, to help the patient maintain normal function.
What Will Happen During the Procedure?
You will lie on your stomach on a table. Then the area to be treated will be cleaned and covered with a special sheet. 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. The entire procedure should take about 10 minutes.
About 20-30 minutes after the procedure, you will be asked to move your back to try to provoke your usual pain. You may or may not obtain improvement in the first few hours after the injection, depending on if the sacroiliac joint is your main pain source.
You may begin to notice an improvement in your pain 2-5 days after the injection. If you do not notice improvement within 10 days after the injection, it is unlikely to occur. You may take your regular medications after the procedure, but try to limit them for the first 4-6 hours after the procedure, so that the diagnostic information obtained from the procedure is accurate. You may be referred for physical or manual therapy after the injection while the numbing medicine is effective and/or over the next several weeks while the cortisone is working.
Risks and Side Effects
A 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.