This minimally invasive procedure is used to diagnose and treat chronic low back pain caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Irregular movements of the sacroiliac joint can sometimes lead to problems in the lower back or even leg pain from spinal deterioration. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction sometimes mimics other degenerative conditions such as radiculopathy and spinal disc herniations. A physical examination must be completed by a physician in order to rule out other conditions prior to treating sacroiliac joint dysfunction. For patients who have not experienced significant pain relief from conservative and alternative therapies, this injection procedure may be recommended as a supplemental treatment option. This treatment may also be used in conjunction with more conservative treatments such as ice, heat, rest, physical therapy, bracing, and pain medications to reduce pain and restore normal function in the joint.
The physician sanitizes and numbs the skin above the sacroiliac joints with the patient lying on their stomach. Once the area is numb due to the local anesthetic, the physician uses a fluoroscope to direct an injection of contrast dye into the areas known to be causing pain. Next, the physician inserts the needle into the damaged sacroiliac joints and dispenses the medication. When the injection is successful, the patient experiences immediate pain relief. It is at this point that the physician can conclude that he or she has treated the correct sacroiliac joints. Finally, the treatment sites are bandaged and the patient is given time to recover before being released.
The anti-inflammatory steroid medication that is used in the sacroiliac joint injection typically relieves pain longer than its more conservative counterparts. Pain relief can be expected to last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Physical therapy and other pain treatments are sometimes prescribed to work in conjunction with this particular treatment. Signs of infection such as fever, swelling, redness and, pain around the injection site should be immediately reported to the physicians at The Spine & Pain Center.