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Sacroiliac Joint Injection for Relief from Low Back Pain
The sacroiliac joints are large joints in the low back where the pelvis joins the spine. These joints are responsible for absorbing shock forces of the upper body, while balancing and transmitting body weight to the hips and legs. Inflammation of these joints from a fall, accident or twisting of the trunk may cause pain. The pain can be noted in the buttocks, low back, legs and groin. Sacroiliac joint injections are used to treat patients suffering from this pain. Additionally, the injections can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine whether or not the pain actually does stem from the sacroiliac joints.
Using X-Ray guidance, the doctor will place a needle in the sacroiliac joint and then inject a local anesthetic and steroid solution to the irritated joints to help reduce inflammation and control pain. The local anesthetic is administered with the steroid to achieve immediate pain relief and also confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes, a small amount of contrast dye is injected before the medication to confirm proper placement of the needle.
Like most procedures, there are risks involved with sacroiliac joint injections. These risks are small and include temporary discomfort, bleeding, infection, and worsening of pain. Patients on blood thinners will have to check with their primary care physician about the safety of temporarily stopping the medication prior to the procedure. Injections are not given more than two times in six months due to the potential side effects of steroids which include weight gain, fluid retention, increased blood sugars, irritability and insomnia.
After the injection, you may initially experience a temporary relief from the pain. It is normal however to experience pain for a day or two after the injection due the needle insertion and irritation from the steroid. Ice may be applied to the insertion site, and the pain should diminish after a couple of days. Regular activity can be resumed one day after the procedure. The steroid peaks within 1-2 weeks after the procedure, and can provide significant pain relief for up to several months.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the care or advice given by your physician. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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