Sacroiliac Joint Injection

What are the sacroiliac joints?

The sacroiliac joints (SI) are paired structures (on the right and left) that connect the spine to the pelvis and allow for motion. The SI joint, like other joints in the body, is surrounded by a capsule that contains a lubricating fluid. SI joint motion allows us to walk upright, to lift, and to carry. Occasionally, the SI joint motion unit can become dysfunctional (for a variety of reasons), causing pain.

What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?

A sacroiliac joint injection (SIJ) is a shot of anti-inflammatory medication and an anesthetic into the joint capsule of the SI joint to treat the pain in your low back, buttock, or upper leg. The goal of this injection is to improve your spine motion as well as provide pain relief.

Before the procedure

You will meet with a doctor trained in spine intervention who will explain the procedure in detail. The physician will explain the risks and benefits of the procedure in detail, including possible complications or side effects. The potential side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

  • Temporary increase in pain

Two weeks before the procedure:

  • Let us know if you have bleeding disorders, or if you are using blood thinners like Aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix or any herbal blood-thinning medications. The above-listed medications may increase the risk of bleeding complications.

  • Please honestly review all your medications with us prior to your SIJ injection. Please inform our staff about any medication changes.

  • Please let us know if you have had any recent events (even 4 weeks prior to the procedure), such as hospitalization, fever, antibiotic treatment, or any illnesses.

The day of the procedure

  • You will be fully awake during the procedure.

  • If you have diabetes, your blood sugar numbers may increase. Your primary care physician or our staff will counsel you regarding management.

  • Continue to take all medications, ESPECIALLY BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATIONS. Please note: your blood sugar and blood pressure will need to be within a safe range on the day of the procedure.

  • Please bring a responsible adult driver with you to your appointment. You should not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure.

During the procedure

  • The procedure usually takes 10 to 30 minutes.

  • You will be lying down during the procedure.

After the procedure

  • Pain relief may begin immediately after the medication has been injected. You may experience a brief recurrence of your former pain until the anti-inflammatory medication takes effect. Apply ice to the injection area to decrease discomfort.

  • A bandage may be placed over the injection site.

  • You will rest, lying down, in a recovery room for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • A nurse will check your blood pressure and pulse and explain your discharge instructions to you.

Discharge instructions

  • You may eat your normal diet.

  • Do not participate in any strenuous activity that day

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