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What are Sacroiliac Joint Injections?
The sacroiliac joint can sometimes be the cause for lower back pain. In such cases, sacroiliac joint injections may be performed to relieve the pain.
Who needs Sacroiliac Joint Injections?
The sacroiliac joint is a faceted joint that connects the lower end of the spine, called the sacrum, to the hip bone. There are two sacroiliac joints, and they are under constant stress from movement of the hips. As a result, it is no surprise that they can be subject to injury or arthritis and can become quite painful. Those suffering sacroiliac joint pain may benefit from this procedure.
What are the steps in Sacroiliac Joint Injections?
Identifying the Injection Area
Is important to recognize that sacroiliac joint injections are performed primarily to reduce pain and improve movement of the hip and lower back. The procedure begins by identifying the area where the injection needs to be administered. This may be done by performing an x-ray or a special test called fluoroscopy.
Positioning the Patient
Consent for the procedure is obtained and the patient is placed in the required position to gain access to the sacroiliac joint. This is usually the patient lying on their chest. The skin over the sacroiliac joint is cleaned with antiseptic solution.
Administering the Injection
Local anesthetic may be injected into the skin, all the way down to the surface of the joint. Once this is done, the injection, containing a local anesthetic along with a steroid drug, is injected into the joint. The purpose of the local anesthetic is to help reduce the pain, while the purpose of the steroid is to reduce both inflammation and pain. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes to perform.
Following the procedure, the patient will be monitored for a short period of time and will then be discharged home. They will be advised to take a rest for a day or two and can resume normal activities after that.
In most cases, following sacroiliac joint injections, patients may experience immediate relief. This is usually due to the local anesthetic component of the injection. The steroids may take a day or two to begin affecting the pain, but the effects are longer lasting, often lasting for up to a few months. Sometimes, once the effects of the steroids are worn off, the pain may return, and repeat injections may be required.
The treatment is relatively safe and has very few risks. The most common risk is that of mild bruising and pain at the site of injection. This usually passes after a few hours. The other risks include persistent pain and allergic reactions to the drugs. Joint infection is a rare side effect, as absolute sterility is observed during the procedure.