Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Injections
Sacroiliac joint injections can be both diagnostic (telling us where the pain is coming from) and therapeutic (helping to treat the pain and allowing the patient to return to activities, such as physical therapy or exercise). Injections are best performed under x-ray or ultrasound guidance, depending upon which part of the joint is being targeted. Typically, the first step in treating SIJ pain involves using a local anesthetic, or a combination of local anesthetic and steroids, to reduce the pain and minimize inflammation. Other techniques for SIJ pain include radiofrequency ablations, which can provide longer-lasting pain relief in patients who have only short-term pain relief from injections.
What to expect after an SIJ Injection
We commonly perform this procedure using a mixture of long lasting local anesthetic (usually bupivacaine) and a steroid medication.
The local anesthetic should start working to control your pain within a half hour after completion of the procedure, but may only last for several hours. Temporary numbness or heaviness of an extremity may be experienced after SIJ injection, however almost all patients are able to stand and walk immediately after the procedure without assistance.
The steroid medication will usually start working to reduce your pain within 24 to 72 hours. The pain relief and improvement in function and mobility may last for days, weeks, or even several months after the single injection. Sometimes, a series of injections or a radiofrequency ablation procedure may help to prolong that benefit.
Although uncommon, some patients may experience a temporary increase in their usual pain for a few days following the procedure.