The sacroiliac joint is the largest axial joint in the body, connecting the spine to the pelvis. It bears a great deal of weight and is held together by ligaments that are susceptible to damage from automobile accidents, giving birth, or lifting heavy objects. Damage to these ligaments can cause the joint to become hypermobile and painfully unstable, requiring interventional pain care. Additionally, the surfaces of the joint can become damaged due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis. A sacroiliac joint injection is a minimally invasive therapy that helps diagnose and treat pain and inflammation caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This treatment option uses a local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication to provide immediate, long-lasting pain relief.
The procedure begins with the patient lying on his or her stomach with a pillow under their pelvis. Sacroiliac joint injections use x-ray guidance to ensure proper needle placement. The area around the sacroiliac joint is numbed with a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort throughout the procedure. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, an Orthopedic and Wellness physician inserts a needle deep into the sacroiliac joint. An iodine contrast dye is then injected into the joint to help physicians identify degenerative changes in the joint or a possible injury. After the needle is in place, a local anesthetic is administered to assess the patient’s pain levels over the next several hours. This is a routine part of the diagnostic test. If the diagnostic test provides adequate pain relief, patients may receive additional injections containing steroids and anesthetics.
Following a sacroiliac joint injection, patients will be asked to monitor their pain levels and report any complications to the team at Orthopedic and Wellness. Although rare, sacroiliac joint injections may yield the following adverse reactions: bleeding, infection, nerve injury, spinal cord injury, and abscesses. If the patient experiences onset, severe generalized weakness during the first week after the injection, a fever of more than 102 degrees, or a severe increase in back pain, they should notify the Orthopedic and Wellness office immediately. Sacroiliac joint injections with steroids may elevate a patient’s blood sugar and blood pressure for a week after the procedure, especially if the patient is a diabetic. Patients will need to check their blood sugar and blood pressure more frequently for the first week after their injection. Some patients experience facial flushing or excessive energy during the first 24 hours after the injection. This is normal and should dissipate shortly after the 24-hour time frame.