Issues with the sacroiliac joints can cause pain and numbness in the lower back, buttocks, legs, and groin. When the joint tissue has inflammation, we refer to this as arthritis. Sacroiliac joint arthritis is one of the more common causes of lower back pain. Many sacroiliac joint issues cannot be effectively addressed with general pain treatments. However, joint inflammation can. If your doctor diagnosis arthritis, a sacroiliac injection (SI) may be the most effective treatment for you.
Sacroiliac Injection is an outpatient treatment that is both safe and minimally invasive.
The sacroiliac joint is the joint that connects the spine with the pelvis. It is one of the more common joints subject to degeneration. It is a relatively small joint, yet it absorbs a lot of energy through the normal practices of walking, standing, and sitting. Wearing out with age is not at all uncommon for the sacroiliac joint.
SIs utilize both anesthesia and steroids to offer pain relief. Anesthesia immediately numbs the affected joint while the steroids gradually reduce inflammation over time. Combining the two offers immediate relief that can last for several months.
A typical SI procedure begins with the patient lying on their stomach and a cushion being placed under the pelvis. The point of the cushion is to arch the back, making it easier for the doctor to locate the sacroiliac joint. The doctor will use touch to locate the joint and a fluoroscope to determine the exact side of the injection.
A local anesthetic is injected to numb the skin and a portion of the tissue down to the sacroiliac joint. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, a thin needle is inserted at the treatment site. Again, the doctor utilizes a fluoroscope to guide the needle to just the right position. At that point, the steroid and anesthetic mixture is injected. The needle is removed, and the injection site is bandaged.
SI can be utilized as both a diagnostic and treatment tool. From a diagnostic standpoint, a fluoroscope gives the doctor the best chance of choosing the correct injection site. If the wrong site is chosen and the patient experiences no pain relief, the doctor might incorrectly assume that the cause of pain is something other than inflammation. This is why it is important to choose the correct site.
Soreness at the site of the injection is normal. It can last for a day or two. As for the pain relief, some immediate relief should be felt as a result of the anesthetic. After the anesthetic wears off, it may take a few days to realize additional relief from the steroids. Some patients experience adequate pain relief after just one treatment. Others require two or three treatments for maximum results.
An SI procedure takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. There is also some recovery time involved. Doctors generally recommend resting for the remainder of the day following the procedure. Patients can return to normal activity the next day.
Sacroiliac injections may be the most appropriate treatment for your lower back pain. To learn more, make an appointment to see a doctor at our Weatherford clinic. If we believe sacroiliac joint arthritis is the cause of your pain, an SI treatment would be an appropriate recommendation.