Sacroiliac or SI Joint injection

Sacroiliac Joint Injection being performed on a patient.

If you’re living with chronic or severe low back pain or sciatica, with pain that radiates to your buttocks, hips, and thighs, you may be wondering if you’ll ever enjoy doing the things you love again, like playing golf, gardening, or even just taking an evening walk.

That’s because while some people have a brief episode of lower back problems that’s easily resolved, others continue to suffer for years, unable to even receive physical therapy because the pain and inflammation are too great.

At Cahaba Pain and Spine Care, our Board Certified Pain Physicians are experts at helping patients living with low back pain finally find the relief they’ve been searching for through a range of advanced, minimally-invasive procedures, including Sacroiliac Joint Injections.

To help you determine if a SI Joint Injection is right for you, we’re answering all of the most common questions about the procedure, including what it is, what you can expect during the procedure itself, and the results you can achieve.

What Is A Sacroiliac Joint Injection and How Can It Help Me?

Your sacroiliac or SI joints lie on each side of your spine, connecting your sacrum with your hips. If you have inflammation or dysfunction of either the SI joints, it can result in long-term or extreme pain.

Your pain management specialist can use a Sacroiliac Injection to provide relief of the pain associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction or inflammation. This injection itself involves a combination of medications including a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation, along with an anesthetic for pain relief.

If an SI injection provides you with significant relief, you can receive up to three injections in a six-month timeframe to achieve full and longer-lasting effects. The pain relief you can achieve through this procedure can also allow you to begin a physical therapy and rehabilitation program to further reduce your pain level and get back to your normal activities.

What Can I Expect During the Procedure?

Prior to your procedure, you may be given an IV, so that you can receive medications that will keep you comfortable and relaxed. You can also expect to be awake and aware throughout all stages of your Sacroiliac Injection.

When the procedure begins, your doctor will have you lie on your stomach on an x-ray table and use fluoroscopy (x-ray) image guidance, to insert a small needle into your SI space. This allows your doctor to ensure proper delivery of the pain-relieving medication.

Once appropriate placement is ensured, the anesthetic and corticosteroid solution is injected to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. The entire injection procedure takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

What Happens After My Sacroiliac Injection?

Following your procedure, you’ll be moved to a recovery area where your pain level will be closely monitored. Upon discharge, you will need a companion available who can drive you home, since you may experience slight weakness or numbness temporarily. Over the next week, you’ll be asked to record your pain level in a “pain diary” in order to keep track of your results.

Although you are allowed to shower when you return home, you should not soak in a bath for 48 hours and should plan on resting for the rest of the day.

What Are the Results?

Since a Sacroiliac Injection is minimally invasive, your downtime is minimal. You may begin to notice an improvement in your pain 2-5 days post procedure, although it could take up to 10 days.

SI injections are proven procedures that can offer long-lasting pain relief for those with sacroiliac joint inflammation or dysfunction.