Sacroiliac Joint Block
A sacroiliac (SI) joint injection, also called a sacroiliac joint block, is primarily used to either diagnose or treat low back pain and/or sciatica symptoms associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
The sacroiliac joints lie next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip on both sides. There are two sacroiliac joints, one on the right and one on the left. Joint inflammation and/or dysfunction in this area can cause pain. Read more about Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction.
The purpose of a sacroiliac joint injection is two-fold: to diagnose the source of a patient’s pain, and to provide therapeutic pain relief. At times, these are separated and a patient will undergo a purely diagnostic or therapeutic injection, although often the two are combined into one injection.
During The Procedure
The patient lies facedown on an x-ray table while numbing medication and then steroids are injected into the joint using fluoroscopic guidance for precise delivery. The procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes, with about 30 minutes recovery. Discomfort during the procedure should be minimal.
If a patient desires further sedation, that is certainly available. Usually this isn’t necessary and sedation does increase recovery time. Whether or not the patient is sedated, most doctors require that after a sacroiliac joint block, a patient be driven home.
Patients are advised to take it easy and not return to work or other taxing activities until the next day.
Patients should be aware that after the injection, pain may seem to be gone; this is due to the anesthetic and will only last for a few hours. Unfortunately, the original pain will likely return in addition to some soreness at the injection site. The good news is that a within a few days, the steroid should provide longer-term pain relief.