Sacroiliac Joint Injection Q&A
The Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a commonly overlooked source of pain in the low back and buttocks area. Joint pain is an inflammation of one or both of your sacroiliac joints located where the lowest part of the spine called sacrum and pelvis connect. The SI joint is a complex joint that allows for a small amount of movement for flexibility of the pelvis while walking. This joint expands during childbirth and may sustain injury from falls. SI joint involvement is common in patients with Ankylosing spondylitis. Treatment might involve physical therapy, medications and injections. At Texas Pain Intervention Clinic, this condition is diagnosed by the patient’s history, physical findings, radiological investigations and sacroiliac joint injection findings. Surgery to fuse the joint and stop painful motion may be recommended based on medical diagnosis. Another treatment called radiofrequency ablation may sometimes be used to target the nerve supply of this joint to block pain.
What is it?
The sacroiliac joints link your pelvis and lowest part of the spine called sacrum. There are two SI joints, one on each side. Strong ligaments hold these joints in place. The sacroiliac joints support the weight of your upper body when you stand. For some, SI joint pain could be dull and achy, for others it can be sharp and stabbing. You’re most likely to feel SI joint pain in your lower back and buttocks, but it can be referred to to your thighs, groin, and even your feet. You may also experience pain on only one side of your lower back or both sides, Pain with prolonged standing and Pain that worsens with walking, running, or taking large strides.
Conditions that lead to SI pain include trauma, pregnancy, inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, abnormal walking patterns, spine surgery, and infection.
How is it treated?
Depending on the cause of your SI joint pain, Dr. Maheshwari may recommend:
- Pain relievers, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory meds
- Physical therapy to help range-of-motion, strengthening and stretching exercises
- Steroid shots to reduce inflammation and pain
- Radiofrequency ablation to eliminate the nerve fibers that carry pain signals in the joint
- Minimally invasive fusion of the SI joint to prevent abnormal movement which causes pain.
What are the advantages?
When conservative and minimally invasive treatments fail to provide lower back pain relief due to SI joint pain, minimally invasive implants help to stabilize the joint facilitating fusion of the joint and providing long term pain relief.
The SI joint fusion devices are minimally invasive implants done in the operating room under monitored anesthesia care and local anesthetics. It requires a half inch incision with minimal soft tissue damage and minimal tendon irritation. Patients leave the surgical center the same day after surgery and can usually resume daily living activities within four to six weeks, depending on how well they are healing.
The procedure offers several benefits compared to traditional SI joint surgery which includes minimal incision size, minimal soft tissue striping and quicker recovery.