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  • The human body has two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of the body. They connect the sacrum to each side of the pelvis and act as shock absorbers. The sacroiliac joints also transmit weight and forces between the upper body and the legs.

    Pain in the lower back, buttock, or hip may originate from the sacroiliac joints and an injection could help the physician determine whether the pain is being caused by a problem in the sacroiliac joint. The procedure can also help alleviate pain in that area.

    There are two types of sacroiliac joint injections. A diagnostic injection involves injecting only numbing medicine into the joint. If the pain eases, then the sacroiliac joint is likely the cause of the pain. A therapeutic injection contains both numbing medicine and steroid medicine to treat pain originating from the sacroiliac joint and decrease inflammation.

  • The physician will review the patient’s medical history and ensure the patient doesn’t currently have an infection, fever, or any other health problems. Patients with diabetes or those taking blood-thinning medication may need to take special precautions.

    Patients should discuss all their medicines with their healthcare provider and may need to stop taking certain medicines a few days before the procedure. The physician also needs to know if the patient:

    • Has any allergies

    • Has had any problems with contrast dyes, past injection procedures, or other medications

    Patients may need to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before the procedure. They may receive medicine to help them relax during the injection and so they should arrange to have someone drive them home afterward.

  • The basic steps for a sacroiliac joint injection are the following:

    1. The patient will lie face down on an X-ray table and receive a sedative.

    2. The skin on their lower back and buttocks will be cleaned.

    3. The physician will use medicine to numb the skin around the injection area.

    4. Under X-ray guidance, the physician will insert the needle tip into the sacroiliac joint. The patient may experience pain in this area as the needle enters the joint.

    5. The provider will inject the X-ray contrast dye to confirm that the needle tip is in the joint.

    6. The provider will inject the medicine into the joint. This medicine may include local anesthetic to block the pain and a steroid to reduce inflammation. The patient may feel a brief stinging or burning sensation during the shot.

    7. The physician will remove the needle and apply a bandage.

  • Potential risks of the procedure include:

    • Infection at the injection site

    • Bleeding at the injection site

    • Allergic reaction to the medication

    • Increased pain

    • Leg weakness

    • Nerve damage

A sacroiliac joint injection is performed to diagnose or treat lower back pain originating from the sacroiliac joint. The spine connects to the pelvis at this joint. During the procedure, the physician will inject medicine directly into the joint to ease pain.

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