A Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injection is a treatment for pain that is suspected to be coming from the joint where the base of spine joins the pelvic or hip bone. In most cases the treatment will include injecting medication into the joint as well as the ligament complex that holds the joint together since both structures may contribute to producing SI joint pain.
SI Joint Injection Procedure
X-ray dye is injected to be sure the needle is positioned correctly for the area to be treated. Medications injected include a steroid (long-acting cortisone type medication) and a local anesthetic. The actions of these medications are to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. The local anesthetic may provide immediate but brief relief. The presence or absence of immediate pain relief from the local anesthetic is helpful for the doctor to confirm whether or not the pain is coming from the SI joint. The steroid can take anywhere from a few days to a week to start working, and is intended to provide extended relief. The steroid may or may not be of benefit. Some painful SI joints will respond nicely to the steroid, but some don’t. If there is substantial and sustained, but incomplete relief from the steroid, one or two repeat injections may be considered in an effort to obtain maximum improvement. Those might be done at two to four week intervals, and additional physical therapy or other conservative treatments may also be appropriate, depending on individual circumstances.
It is not uncommon with an SI joint injection for some of the medication to ooze out of the joint which may cause temporary weakness and numbness in the leg. Until sensation returns to normal, patients are cautioned with walking.