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Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injection

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Living with chronic pain can make carrying out a normal routine difficult.

With chronic pain, your every move may be plagued with excruciating pain in parts of your body like your hips and lower back. Rather than live with such intense discomfort, you could find long-lasting relief by receiving sacroiliac joint injections.

You can determine if these injections are right for you by learning what they are and how they can benefit patients.

What are Sacroiliac Joint Injections?

Sacroiliac joint injections are, as their name implies, injections that are given in the sacroiliac joints in the lower back. The sacroiliac, or SI, joints are located on either side of the spine. They connect the sacrum to the hips and can be negatively impacted by conditions like arthritis or injuries from accidents and falls.

The SI joint injections achieve two important results. First, they allow doctors to determine the source and underlying cause of the pain in the SI joints. Second, they provide relatively long-term relief from intense pain in the joints.

SI joint injections are administered in your doctor’s office or single day surgery center. Before they are given, the area on your lower back will be numbed with a local anesthetic.

The injections are given in conjunction with an x-ray. When done correctly, they can eliminate up to 80 percent of a patient’s pain in this part of his or her body.

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How are SI Joint Injections Done?

Before the injections are given, you will be instructed to lie on your stomach on an x-ray table. Your lower back will be numbed with a local anesthetic like lidocaine. You also may be given IV sedation to keep you calm and still during the procedure.

After your lower back is numbed, your doctor will then use an x-ray to determine where to insert the needle into the SI joints. The location will further be confirmed with dye that will be injected into the joints before the doctor injects a mixture of pain medication and steroids.

After the procedure is finished, you will remain resting on your stomach for 20 to 30 minutes. Your doctor will then have you roll onto your back to determine if your pain is still there or if you experience less discomfort from the procedure.

You can typically go home to recuperate immediately after the procedure is finished. You might be asked to keep a pain journal during the next few weeks to document the location and severity of any pain you experience afterward.

SI Joint Injections Recovery

You typically can resume your normal activities within one or two weeks after the injections. You may experience a sensation of heaviness in your legs and lower back. This is normal and will go away on its own after a few days. You should experience relief from pain anywhere from two to five days after the injections.

SI joint injections can bring fast relief from chronic SI joint pain. The results can last for several weeks or months.