Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Overview

When a patient has inflammation in one of their sacroiliac joints, they can have pain in the hip on that side and the pain can go down into the leg. To calm the inflammation, Dr. Trujillo uses corticosteroid injections into the inflamed joint. This can provide pain relief for a period of weeks or even months. 

What is the sacroiliac joint?

The sacroiliac joints lie next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip on both sides. The sacrum is a shield-shaped bony structure that is located at the base of the lumbar spine. There are two sacroiliac joints, one on the right and one on the left. These can become inflamed causing pain in the hip, back, and possibly the corresponding leg. 

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Who is a good candidate for sacroiliac joint injections? What are the symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of a patient’s pain originating in the sacroiliac joint start in the lower back and buttock. The pain may radiate to the lower hip, groin, or upper thigh. Pain is usually on one side. Patients may also experience numbness or tingling in the leg or a feeling of weakness in the leg. 

Symptoms may worsen with sitting, standing, sleeping, walking, or climbing stairs. The joint can be painful with sitting or sleeping on the affected side. 

What are the benefits of having sacroiliac joint steroid injections?

These injections by Dr. Trujillo can relieve the patient’s pain to an extent that they don’t need to consider nerve ablations or other more involved procedures. Once the pain has resolved, Dr. Trujillo can put the patient on a physical therapy program that can strengthen the muscles in the area to provide better support. The combination of steroid injections and PT can resolve the problem, or at least make the pain manageable to the degree the person can return to normal activities. 

Sometimes these injections have a twofold purpose. First, Dr. Trujillo may inject anesthetic into the joint. If this provides immediate pain relief, then it is verified that the sacroiliac joint is the cause. This may open the door for a potential nerve ablation procedure to stop the offending nerve from sending pain signals. Beyond that diagnostic purpose, these injections with corticosteroid will aim to calm inflammation in the sacroiliac joint. 

How are these sacroiliac steroid injections done?

The first step in these treatments is to numb the area with a local anesthetic. Next, a needle inserted using fluoroscopy (x-ray guidance) to guide Dr. Trujillo precisely to the sacroiliac joint. Once the needle has entered the joint, a vial with corticosteroid is attached to the needle and it is injected directly into the joint. Once all of the steroids has been injected, the needle is removed, and the treatment is complete. A small bandage is placed over the injection site.

a doctor performing sacroiliac joint injections in a patient.

What are possible side effects with sacroiliac joint injections?

Following the injection, we keep the patient in our Show Low offices for 30 minutes to ensure that aren’t any immediate reactions or complications. The risks with these injections are minor and rare. They are:

  • Risks related to the medications used in the injection
  • Bruising and/or soreness at the injection site
  • Infection at the injection site, in deeper tissues, or in the joint

How long can I expect my pain to be relieved with sacroiliac joint injections?

The duration of your pain relief can vary between patients, but most patients have substantial pain relief for a period of weeks or months. That’s because the corticosteroid calms the inflammation in the joint that is causing the patient’s pain. 

How often can I have sacroiliac joint steroid injections?

If you have found these injections to provide long-term pain relief, these corticosteroid injections can be repeated up to three times per year. 

How long after these injections can I drive?

Patients cannot drive for 12 hours after these injections. You will have mild soreness at the injection sites for one to two days, but it is not acute. 

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If you're interested in learning more about sacroiliac joint steroid injections please contact us for a consultation at 855-768-4968 or fill out our contact us form below. We will discuss your needs and concerns, and determine your best course of action.

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