What to Expect with Procedures

Sacroiliac Joint Steroid Injection

The Sacroiliac Joint (SI) is where the spine and the hip bone meet. A steroid injection is performed to make the diagnosis and relieve pain caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction or arthritis in the sacroiliac joint (sacroiliitis). The pain is usually in the lower back and the buttock area, though it might radiate (travel) to your posterior and anterior thigh, but rarely below the knees.

Will the Sacroiiliac Joint Steroid Injection cure my pain?

No, the procedure will help to lessen your pain, making it easier for you to participate in physical therapy to help improve your condition. How much relief and for how long varies among patients depending on other medical conditions and how long the problem has occurred.

Are there any side effects or complications?

Yes, SI joint injections are very safe, but as with any other medical procedure, it has risks. Risks with this block are very rare, but serious complications such as infection, allergy reaction, and nerve damage might happen.

How is a SI joint injection done?

First the skin will be cleaned with a special solution; this will feel cold. Then your skin will be numbed with a local anesthetic. This will induce a stinging and burning sensation. During the block, 1 small needle is placed and advanced to the SI joint. Since the skin is numb from the local anesthesia, you might feel mild discomfort or pressure. If you feel pain, let the staff know. The time required to do the procedure varies from patient to patient, but it will usually take 10-15 minutes.

When can I go back to my normal activities?

As soon as possible. The staff in the clinic will provide you with care instructions after the injection. Please follow them. We prefer you go back to your normal activities as soon as the next day. It is very important to keep your body active.

Is it safe?

Yes, but as mentioned before, complications might occur, as well as side effects for the steroids. Rare but serious complications can occur, such as nerve damage, infection, and bleeding. Our staff will discuss in detail the risks and benefits before scheduling this injection.

Will the SI joint block prevent me from having surgery?

The procedure is to lessen your pain not to prevent surgery, since pain may or may not the reason for the surgery. Talk to the doctor before the procedure, if you have any doubts.

I have had an SI joint injection before and it did not help. Should I do another one?

It will vary from patient to patient, but it some cases a second could be helpful. Talk your doctor about the opportunity of another injection.

What about if the procedure does not help my pain?

There are other therapies that we can use to manage your pain. Using different methods to treat your pain is the most successful way to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. Other strategies to treat your pain include exercise, relaxation, and changing negative thought patterns can help you cope better with pain.

Who should not have the injection?

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you have a severe allergic reaction to local anesthetics or steroids.
  • If you are taking a blood thinner, such as Warfarin (Coumadin), Enoxaparin (Lovenox), Clopidogrel (Plavix), etc; and your medical condition does not allow us to stop it a few days prior to the procedure.
  • If you develop fever or any infection.

Contact our office if you experience:

  • A fever
  • Pain that is more severe than prior to the injection
  • Increased back pain or back stiffness

Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 911 if you develop any new numbness, weakness, and/or paralysis in your arms or legs or lose control of your bladder or bowels

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