Pain originating from the sacroiliac joint or S.I. joint is a very common cause of low back pain. Unfortunately, this source of pain can be overlooked by many providers. An injection into this joint can be helpful in both diagnosing the pain and treating it. It is best to avoid this procedure if you have abnormally elevated blood sugars the day of the procedure or recent illness/antibiotics/infections.
The procedure can be performed with either X-ray or ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement of the medication. A numbing medication is initially applied to the skin to numb the area in which the doctor is working. A small needle is then guided through the numbed area into the joint. Typically, both a steroid and numbing mediation are injected into the joint. The steroid is the medication that gives long-term relief. Typically, this injection may provide relief for several weeks or months.
This is a same day procedure and recovery time is minimal. Typically rest or light activity for 24 to 48 hours following the injection is prudent. If there is increased soreness after the injection, icing the area for 10 minutes intermittently and taking anti-inflammatory medications can be helpful. It is very rare to have any complications or problems with this injection. The risk of infection or bleeding is rare. Typically, the pain relief can occur about one to seven days following the injection once the steroid medication begins to work. Prior to the steroid working there can be a temporary increase in pain levels.