What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?
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A sacroiliac joint injection is used to diagnose and treat pain originating from sacroiliac joint structures. Administered in the low back through a thin, hollow needle, the injection typically contains anesthetics, which numb pain, and corticosteroids, which lower inflammation.
There are two sacroiliac joints in the low back. They are located between the sacrum and the ilium on either side of the pelvis. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction involves abnormal position or articulation (movement) of sacroiliac joint structures. These abnormalities often result in sacroiliitis, inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints; and pain, which may be felt in the low back, or radiate into the groin and limbs as referred pain. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be triggered by various types of arthritis, pregnancy, lumbar fusion surgery, infection, tumors and other causes.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection Procedure
A sacroiliac joint injection is a rapid, outpatient procedure. Medications are injected into one or both of the sacroiliac joints through a small, thin needle.
A patient’s first sacroiliac injection is diagnostic. If it significantly lowers the pain or causes it to go away completely, the injected sacroiliac joint is confirmed as a source of the pain. A successful injection makes a patient eligible for future injections to maintain pain relief over time.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection Benefits
Sacroiliac joint injections:
- Are a minimally invasive way to alleviate sacroiliac joint pain.
- Are a straightforward, quickly performed treatment.
- May permit reduced intake of pain-relieving medications.
- May improve daily functionality by restoring strength and range of motion.
- Involve minimal pain and recovery time.
- Are impermanent and reversible.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection Risks
Sacroiliac joint injections are considered to be a low-risk procedure. However, like any medical intervention, they can lead to adverse effects and complications. Some of these include:
- False-positive diagnostic injections.
- Inadvertent damage to blood vessels and other uninvolved tissues.
- Side effects from medications contained in the injections, particularly if multiple injections are given within one year.