SI Joint Injection

What is a SI Joint Injection?

An SI (Sacroiliac) joint injection is a medical procedure in which a mixture of local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication is injected directly into the sacroiliac joint, located at the base of the spine. This targeted injection aims to alleviate pain and inflammation caused by conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction or arthritis. By numbing the joint and reducing inflammation, SI joint injections can provide significant relief, improving mobility and enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals suffering from lower back, buttock, or leg pain originating from the sacroiliac joint.

SI Joint Injection

During an SI joint injection procedure, the patient lies on their stomach. The area around the SI joint is sterilized, and a local anesthetic is applied to numb the skin. With the help of imaging guidance such as fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) or ultrasound, a needle is carefully inserted into the SI joint. A contrast dye is injected to confirm the needle’s correct placement, and then a mixture of local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication (such as corticosteroids) is injected into the joint. The procedure usually takes around 15-30 minutes. After the injection, patients are monitored for a short period before being allowed to go home. It’s common for patients to feel immediate pain relief due to the numbing effect of the local anesthetic, and the anti-inflammatory medication provides longer-term relief as it takes effect over the following days.

SI joint injections are generally considered safe, but like any medical procedure, they do carry some risks. Common risks include temporary pain at the injection site, bruising, or bleeding. In rare cases, patients might experience an infection at the injection site or have an allergic reaction to the medications used. There is also a small risk of nerve damage, which could cause weakness or numbness. Additionally, though extremely rare, there’s a risk of the needle accidentally puncturing an organ or blood vessel near the SI joint. It’s crucial for patients to discuss their medical history, allergies, and any concerns with their healthcare provider before the procedure to minimize these risks. Furthermore, they should report any unusual symptoms experienced after the injection promptly.

 

If SI joint injections don’t provide relief, further evaluation and consultation with a healthcare provider are necessary. In such cases, additional diagnostic tests, physical therapy, alternative treatments, or consultation with specialists such as pain management physicians or orthopedic surgeons might be considered. The healthcare team will explore other options tailored to the individual’s specific condition and needs to manage the pain effectively.

After SI joint injections, patients are generally advised to take it easy for the rest of the day. It’s recommended to avoid strenuous activities, lifting heavy objects, or engaging in vigorous exercises for the next 24 to 48 hours. This precaution allows the injected medications to settle into the joint and maximize their effectiveness. It’s also essential to pay attention to any lingering numbness or weakness caused by the local anesthetic and avoid activities that could lead to injury due to reduced sensation. Patients should follow the specific post-injection instructions provided by their healthcare provider to ensure a safe and successful recovery.