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SI Joint Injections

What is the Sacroiliac Joint?


si-joint-injectionThe sacroiliac joint, or SI joint, is a joint in the lower back where the spine connects to the hips and pelvis. You have SI joints on both the left and right side of your hips. These joints help control your hip area when you move.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome?

This joint, when irritated can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty walking. The pain often radiates down to the knee and into the groin. It is commonly difficult to find a comfortable position when lying in bed. Sacroiliac joint pain can become severe and disabling if not treated.

Potential causes of the SI joint pain are:

  • Poor posture
  • Excessive bending or twisting
  • Improper lifting
  • Arthritis
  • Wearing away of the cartilage (cushion) between the bones
  • Trauma from impact, such as landing hard on buttocks
  • Degeneration of the SI joint
  • Inflammation of the SI joint
  • Fracture

What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?

In a sacroiliac joint injection, a local anesthetic and corticosteroid are injected into one or both of your sacroiliac joints. The corticosteroid is injected as an anti-inflammatory agent. Reducing inflammation in the SI joint will help to reduce pain.

How is the procedure done?

  1. Utah Spine Care uses fluoroscopy (live x-ray guidance) for all of the Sacroiliac Joint procedures
  2. The patient will lie on the procedure bed on his or her stomach
  3. Once your physician has found the correct spot, using x-ray guidance, the procedure will begin
  4. Your Physician will direct a spinal needle into the skin and then toward the SI joint
  5. Once the needle has reached the correct area, the steroid solution is injected

Patients are not deeply sedated or completely asleep for this procedure, because it is unnecessary to do so. The patient, however, is welcome to take an anti-anxiety agent to help with the possible nerves of this procedure. Our office may provide an anti-anxiety agent if necessary. This procedure typically takes 5-10 minutes, followed by a brief 15-20 minute recovery before discharge home.

How can you heal after the procedure?

This injection, like many others, will create soreness around injection site. It typically takes 3 to 5 days for the steroid medication to decrease inflammation in the problem area. Medication will not be prescribed specifically after this procedure.

Patients are not required to rest on the day of the procedure. Most patients go back to work, but work with slight limitations. The following day, all regular activities can be resumed.

Because some medications may affect a patient’s driving reflexes, the patient will need someone to drive them home from the office. You should not drive the day of the procedure, because you may experience arm or leg weakness/numbness during the first 24 hours following the procedure. You will follow-up with your physician 3 weeks after the procedure to determine your benefit from the injection.