Insight Pain Management – Sacroiliac joint disorders affect up to 30 percent of patients with chronic lower back pain. Centered around the lower back, buttocks, and thighs, SI joint dysfunction is characterized by persistent pain that varies from dull to sharp or stabbing, stiffness, numbness and tingling, instability while walking, limited range of motion, and discomfort while sitting or standing for prolonged periods. For many people, symptoms may come and go, vary in intensity, and be managed effectively with rest, pain medications, and physical therapy or bracing. But when SI pain becomes debilitating and intrusive in daily life, it may be time to consider therapeutic SI joint injections. Here are six ways patients can benefit from sacroiliac joint injections, as well as what to expect after the procedure.
The main benefit of sacroiliac joint injections is pain relief. By injecting a combination of local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication into the SI joint near the lower back and buttocks, pain signals can be blocked, providing noticeable pain relief as soon as three to five days after the procedure.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be difficult to accurately diagnose because it is so similar to other issues, such as sciatica or pain caused by lumbar disc herniation. When an injection provides significant pain relief, it is an indicator that the SI joint is the source of pain. This confirmation is essential in helping your pain management physicians determine the best treatment plan to meet your needs.
Surgery should always be a last resort for treating lower back pain and most people prefer to explore conservative options that may provide better outcomes. One of the safest and most effective alternatives to surgery are sacroiliac joint injections. The entire procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes, followed by a brief recovery time before you are able to go home. Patients may experience some soreness at the injection site, but meaningful pain relief generally begins to take effect within three to five days of the procedure.
One of the most frustrating aspects of sacroiliac joint dysfunction in patients is a reduction in mobility. Pain, stiffness, and instability can make it difficult for people to walk, get dressed, and participate in treatments like physical therapy. After just one injection, you should start experiencing improved flexibility and function that will allow you to start returning to work and your favorite activities without limitations.
Sacroiliac joint injections are performed as a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. This means that patients can return to their homes to rest and recover on the same day of the injection. After 24 hours, it is safe to resume normal daily activities like driving, working, and even exercise or physical therapy.
Everyone responds differently to sacroiliac joint injections. Patients typically experience pain relief for two to four months following an injection, with some experiencing relief for six months or longer. Patients can receive up to three injections in a six-month period to achieve longer-lasting results; however, they must be spaced a minimum of two weeks apart. Together with other treatments like physical therapy, most patients will experience meaningful improvement.
Whether you are looking for long-lasting pain relief or an alternative to surgery, sacroiliac joint injections can offer significant benefits to patients. However, injections may not be suitable for everyone and it is important to consult with a pain management specialist to determine if this treatment option is right for you. To learn more about our services at Insight Pain Management, including SI joint injections, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Q: What causes sacroiliac joint pain?
A: Sacroiliac joint pain is often the result of normal wear and tear as people age. However, it can also be caused by trauma from accidents, pregnancy-related issues, arthritis, and gait/leg length abnormalities.
Q: How long can I expect relief to last after a sacroiliac joint injection?
A: Most patients can expect at least several months of pain relief after a sacroiliac joint injection.
Pain relief from SI injections can also allow patients to participate in other treatments, such as physical therapy, which can extend pain relief.
Q: Are there any side effects from sacroiliac joint injections?
A: Side effects from sacroiliac joint injections are rare, but they may be experienced in some people. Some of the most common reported side effects include allergic reaction, infection, and bleeding.