What is the sacroiliac joint and why is a sacroiliac
joint injection helpful?
sacroiliac joint is a large joint in your lower back and
buttocks region. When the joint becomes painful, it can
cause pain in its immediate region or it can refer pain
into your groin, abdomen, hip, buttock or leg.
sacroiliac joint injection serves several purposes.
First, by placing numbing medicine into the joint, the
amount of immediate pain relief you experience will help
confirm or deny the joint as a source of your pain. That
is, if you obtain complete relief of your main pain
while the joint is numb it means this joint is more
likely than not your pain source. Furthermore,
time-release cortisone will be injected into the joint
to reduce any presumed inflammation, which on many
occasions can provide long-term pain relief.
Although there are numerous ways to
sacroiliac joint injections work powerfully to reduce
your inflammation and they can provide months of relief.
What will happen to me during the procedure?
needed, an IV will be started so that adequate
relaxation medication can be given. After lying on an
x-ray table, the skin over your lower back/buttock will
be well cleansed. Next, the physician will numb a small
area of skin with numbing medicine (anesthetic) which
stings for a few seconds. The physician then will use
x-ray guidance to direct a very small needle into the
joint. He will then inject several drops of contrast dye
to confirm that the medication only goes into the joint.
A small mixture of numbing medication (anesthetic) and
anti-inflammatory cortisone will then be slowly
What should I do and expect after the procedure?
minutes after the procedure, you will move your back to
try to provoke your usual pain. You will report your
remaining pain, (if any) and also record the relief you
experience during the next week, on a pain diary we will
provide. You may or may not obtain improvement in the
first few hours after the injection, depending on if the
sacroiliac joint is your main pain source.
occasion, you may feel numb, slightly weak or have an
odd feeling in your leg for a few hours after the
injection. You may notice a slight increase in your pain
lasting for several days as the numbing medication wears
off before the cortisone is effective. Ice will
typically be more helpful than heat in the first 2-3
days after the injection. You may begin to notice an
improvement in your pain 2-5 days after the injection.
If you do not notice improvement within 10 days after
the injection, it is unlikely to occur. You may take
your regular medications after the procedure, but try to
limit them for the first 4-6 hours after the procedure,
so that the diagnostic information obtained from the
procedure is accurate. You may be referred for physical
or manual therapy after the injection while the numbing
medicine is effective and/or over the next several weeks
while the cortisone is working.
day of the injection, you should not drive and should
avoid any strenuous activities. On the day after the
procedure, you may return to your regular activities.
When your pain is improved, start your regular
exercise/activities in moderation. Even if you are
significantly improved, gradually increase your
activities over 1-2 weeks to avoid recurrence of your