Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Description

The sacroiliac joints are next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip. There are a total of two sacroiliac joints, one on the left and one on the right side of the body. Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints can lead to debilitating pain.

A sacroiliac joint injection is a procedure involving the injection of local anesthetic and a steroid medication into the sacroiliac joint, which reduces inflammation and provides immediate pain relief. The purpose of a sacroiliac joint injection is two-fold:

  • Diagnostic: a sacroiliac joint injection can assist in confirming a suspected diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. After injection of the local anesthetic into the joint, the patient’s response is carefully noted. If the patient experiences 75-80% pain relief, a diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is tentatively made. Typically, a second diagnostic injection is performed to confirm the results of the first injection.

  • Therapeutic: Sacroiliac joint injections can provide relief from pain associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The injection of corticosteroid into the joint helps to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. After a patient undergoes a sacroiliac joint injection, he or she can begin physical therapy to achieve further improvements. Injections may be repeated up to three times per year.

Indications

Indications for a diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection include:

  • Low back pain lasting at least 3 months

  • Diagnosis is uncertain following physical examination and imaging studies

  • At least 4-6 weeks of failed conservative therapy

Indications for a therapeutic sacroiliac joint injection include:

  • Low back pain lasting at least 3 months

  • Conservative treatment for 4-6 weeks fails

  • Evidence of a positive response to a prior diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection