Sacroiliac Joint Injections To Ease Your Pain

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Sacroiliac (SI) joints are located where your sacrum and ilium bones meet, which is essentially the bottom of your spine and the top of your pelvis. These joints help absorb shock between the spine and pelvis, allowing you to move smoothly.

However, when the SI joints become inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain or discomfort in the lower back and buttocks. This can be quite bothersome, and if not treated, it can lead to chronic pain that can make it hard to go about your day-to-day activities.

SI joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including traumatic injury, arthritis, and scoliosis. Fortunately, there are ways to ease SI joint pain. For example, one of the most effective solutions is a SI joint injection.

What Are Sacroiliac Joint Injections?

There are two types of SI joint injections: diagnostic and therapeutic. Both are minimally invasive procedures in which a solution is injected directly into the affected joint.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections

If you were experiencing pain in the lower back area and the doctor suspected that the SI joint was the cause of it, a diagnostic injection would be administered. A diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection introduces a short-acting numbing agent using ultrasound.

If your pain is significantly reduced after the injection, your doctor can confirm that SI joint pain is the cause of your discomfort.

A therapeutic SI joint injection is administered if your doctor has already confirmed that the sacroiliac joint is the cause of your pain. However, we recommend against corticosteroid injections (which some doctors prescribe) due to their potential side effects, as they can weaken connective tissue and cause the joint to break down over time.

At Square One Health, we use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy to help reduce pain and inflammation in the joint. PRP is concentrated blood plasma that contains a high concentration of platelets and growth factors. The PRP is then injected directly into the SI joint, promoting healing and reducing inflammation.

When SI Joint Injections Are Recommended

There are some minor risks associated with SI joint injections, as with any injection, which is why most medical professionals won’t jump to administer them at the first sign of back pain. Instead, they will typically recommend SI joint injections in the following cases:

  • High suspicion of SI joint pain: If your doctor suspects an SI joint is causing your pain, they may recommend a diagnostic SI injection to confirm their suspicions.
  • Treat lower back pain: If your doctor confirms that SI joint pain is the reason for your lower back pain, they may recommend a therapeutic injection to provide long-term relief.
  • Treat sciatica symptoms: Although separate from the sciatic nerve, SI joint pain can cause symptoms similar to sciatica. If your doctor suspects this is the case, they may recommend an SI joint injection to provide relief.

Benefits Of Receiving SI Joint Injections

SI joint injections can be incredibly beneficial if you’re experiencing pain in the lower back area. The following are the main benefits of receiving SI joint injections:

  • Effective diagnosis: Since SI joint injections are used to both diagnose and treat SI pain, they can provide an accurate diagnosis of the source of your lower back pain.
  • Relief from pain: The primary benefit of SI joint injections is that they provide short-term and long-term relief from pain in the lower back, buttocks, and hips caused by inflammation in the SI joints.
  • Short recovery: SI joint injections are minimally invasive procedures with a short recovery time. Most patients can expect to return to normal activities within a day.
  • Non-surgical: SI joint injections are a minimally invasive procedure. They do not require surgery or significant intervention, making them ideal for those who want to avoid more drastic treatments.
  • Cost-effective: Not only is receiving an SI joint injection less costly than surgery, but it’s often much cheaper than taking prescription medications regularly to reduce the pain.

How SI Joint Injections Work

Receiving an SI joint injection involves more than just going into your doctor’s office and having a shot. As such, it helps to understand how exactly they work:

Pre-Injection Preparation

Once you’ve scheduled an SI joint injection, you’ll be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for at least two hours before your appointment. You should be sure to wash up using regular soap and water so that the area where the injection will be administered is clean. Avoid using any lotions or creams in this area.

If you’re on any medications or you have any allergies, you must provide your doctor with this information before the injection is administered. This is especially important if you’re allergic to contrast, iodine, or latex. Finally, make sure that somebody accompanies you to your appointment so they can drive you home.

Sacroiliac joint injections doctor consultation illustration

What Happens During The Administration

You’ll be asked to change into a gown and to lay on your stomach on the treatment table so that the shots can be administered. First, your doctor will disinfect the skin where the injection will be administered. Then they will inject a local anesthetic to numb the area and ensure you don’t feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure.

We use ultrasound-guided injections, not contrast and x-ray Once the injection is completed, the skin will be cleaned, and a band-aid will be applied.

Post-Injection Care Instructions And Expectations

Post-injection care instructions and expectations are essential to ensure that the injection site heals properly and to reduce the risk of infection. With that in mind, the following are some of the post-care instructions you’ll likely receive:

  • Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours.
  • Avoid strenuous activity for the rest of the day.
  • Although you can shower, you should avoid submerging under water for 48 hours (so avoid bathing).
  • Don’t remove your bandages for at least 24 hours.
  • Contact your doctor if you develop any symptoms of an infection or an abnormal reaction following the injection.

How Successful Are Sacroiliac Joint Injections?

Certain SI joint injections, such as PRP injections, are very successful at providing relief from pain and discomfort within as little as a month. Most patients will continue experiencing more relief for six months.

Joint Injection Options For You

It’s worth noting that there are several types of injections that can be effective for treating joint pain. The following are some of the joint injections that we provide at Square One Health:

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections use platelets from your own blood to speed up the healing process. These injections treat joint pain by helping the body regenerate tissue, reduce inflammation, and stimulate joint lubrication.
  • Viscosupplementation or HA Injections: These injections contain hyaluronic acid, which helps to lubricate the joint and reduce inflammation, and are particularly useful in treating joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. They are most commonly used in knees but can also be used in other joints.
  • Cellular Products: These injections contain cellular products, which help to regenerate damaged joint tissue.

Seek The Most Effective Treatment For Your Sacroiliac Joints

If you’re suffering from sacroiliac joint pain and discomfort, it’s important to seek out the most effective treatment for your condition. SI joint injections have been proven to provide significant pain relief for many patients.

Our team at Square One Health is dedicated to helping you identify the best solution for your joint pain. We offer a range of joint injection options, so you can be sure you’re receiving the most appropriate care and treatment for your condition.

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