The sacroiliac is a joint located in the lower back, where the spine meets the pelvis. It is a critical stabilizing point responsible for bearing most of the upper body weight. Unfortunately, the sacroiliac joint is prone to numerous types of arthritis that can cause excruciating pain in the lower back and legs.
According to expert statistical estimates, 15% to 30% of all people suffering from low back pain have sacroiliac joint arthritis. If you are experiencing sacroiliac joint pain, sacroiliac joint injections may be an effective treatment option.
What Are Sacroiliac Injections
A sacroiliac joint injection is a minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting medication directly into the sacroiliac joint. The medication can be a corticosteroid, which is a type of anti-inflammatory drug, or it can be a local anesthetic. The goal of the injection is to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with sacroiliac joint arthritis. The injection can also help to diagnose the source and alleviate pain in the sacroiliac joint.
How Are Sacroiliac Injections Performed
Sacroiliac joint pain often originates from within, but occasionally it may arise from surrounding structures, like the SI ligament. Therefore, an SI injection may be administered within or around the joint (intra-articular and periarticular injections). Typically, the Sacroiliac injection uses corticosteroids mixed with anesthetics.
- Intra-articular. This approach is generally considered more accurate and is administered within the synovial capsule in the joint. Your doctor will use fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray that uses real-time imaging, to guide the needle into the precise location.
- Periarticular. These injections typically target nerves within the posterior pelvis because most of the SI joint’s neural innervation concentrates in the rare region of the joint. Periarticular injections are administered in the ligamentous, fibrous areas.
However, the injection area in the periarticular technique is unclear. Therefore, doctors suggest where and varying depths to inject to achieve the desired pain relief. During the intra-articular procedure, doctors use fluoroscopy to guide the needle through the skin to the desired location. On the other hand, they may use ultrasound guidance for periarticular injections. Alternatively, doctors may use a contrasting dye to guide the needle and avoid injecting the blood vessels.
Benefits of Sacroiliac Joint Injections
The main benefit of sacroiliac joint injections is that they provide pain relief for those suffering from sacroiliac joint arthritis. The injections can also help to diagnose the source of the sacroiliac joint pain. In addition, sacroiliac joint injections can help to identify which nerve is causing the pain. The information gathered helps develop a more targeted treatment plan.
If you are experiencing sacroiliac joint pain, your doctor will likely perform a physical examination. They will also ask about your medical history and symptoms. Your doctor may order imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, to rule out other causes of your pain. If the sacroiliac joint is the source of your pain, your doctor may recommend a sacroiliac joint injection, which will determine the exact point of pain origin.
Sacroiliac joint injections provide pain relief for those suffering from sacroiliac joint arthritis. The injections can also help to reduce the inflammation and pain associated with sacroiliac joint arthritis. With the inflammation reduced to manageable amounts, you may find it easier to move and perform daily activities.
Risks of Sacroiliac Joint Injections
Unfortunately, sacroiliac joint injections have risks and complications, such as infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. However, these risks are rare and only occur due to improper injection. It is crucial to consult with an experienced doctor in performing sacroiliac joint injections to reduce the risk of complications.
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reactions to the medication
- Immense pain
- Leg weakness
Sacroiliac joint injections are typically successful in reducing pain and inflammation. In some cases, the injections work as a diagnostic tool to determine the source of your pain. The results are usually immediate, but they may last for several months.
At Spine Diagnostics, we provide Sacroiliac Joint Injections to patients. Our team of pain management specialists will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your individual needs. To contact our team of experts, fill out the form below.