A Possible Answer for Your Back & Leg Pain
Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections/ joint block is a temporary alternative treatment for SI joint fusion. An SI joint injection is also used as a diagnostic test to confirm sacroiliac joint dysfunction, a painful inflammation causing lower back pain and/or sciatica (back/leg pain).
The sacrum is the area at the base of the spine, connecting the tailbone to the hip bones (pelvis) if you will; the sacroiliac joint sitting in-between. Chronic inflammation in this area is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It’s this pain an SI joint injection aims to diagnose and temporarily reduce.
Risk Factors for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Women have a wider sacrum than men leading to a greater instance of SI joint dysfunction in women of all ages, but men may be affected as well. Other risk factors include:
- Sitting for extended periods of time
- Trauma (hard fall)
- Too much movement of the SI joint (sports, training)
- Too little movement of the SI joint
With symptoms that can mimic sciatica or a herniated disc, diagnosing SI joint pain and dysfunction can be difficult. This is where the main use of an SI injection/ joint block comes in handy.
Does Receiving a Sacroiliac Joint Injection Hurt?
Similar to a selective epidural , you’ll usually be mildly sedated. A needle is injected near the joint with the aid of X-ray guidance or fluoroscopy. First a contrast dye in injected to make absolutely certain the positioning of the injection is correct. Once correct location is confirmed, an anesthetic/numbing agent is injected.
You’ll be asked to try and replicate activities that cause you pain, if you experience a significant reduction in pain, the procedure will be performed one more time. This time an alternate anesthetic/numbing agent will be used. You’ll be asked to perform the same pain inducing movements. If you experience the same pain-relief as the first treatment, a diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction can be confirmed, the SI joint being singled out as the root of your pain.
This test is solely for diagnostic purposes, if you’re receiving an SI injection for long-term pain reduction, the application is a little different. The mechanics are the same, but instead of an anesthetic like lidocaine or bupivacaine, a corticosteroid (long lasting anti-inflammatory) is injected.
The long-term therapeutic application/ version can be repeated up to three times a year, with a reduction in pain typically lasting from six months to a year. This is not a cure however and should not be used as a lifelong means of pain management, as corticosteroids can cause long term harm to the tissue of the joint. The therapeutic application is to relieve your pain, allowing you to complete physical therapy.
After the Procedure/ Side Effects
Many healthcare professionals recommend drinking lots of water post procedure to effectively flush out the contrast dye. Be sure to avoid strenuous activities the same day and make sure to have a ride home (you may experience weakness or numbness in arms or legs). Possible side effects include, infection, busing of the injection site and allergic reaction.
If you suffer from lower back or leg pain and want relief, ask a doctor today if an SI injection is right for you. Request more information about Sacroiliac Joint Injections today. Call (832) 532-0050 or contact us online.