What to Know About Sacroiliac Joint Injection

February 19, 2019 0
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Do you have lower back pain? Do your glutes complain when you walk?

You could be in the 13% of people who suffer from sacroiliac joint pain.

Sacroiliac joint pain is a chronic condition that causes sufferers significant discomfort. The good news, however, is that there are treatments that can help.

There are several treatment options for lower back pain, but a sacroiliac joint injection will offer long-term pain relief – even if everything else you’ve tried hasn’t worked.

Keep reading to learn more about how to find sweet relief from sacroiliac joint pain with injections.

What Is the Sacroiliac Joint?

The sacroiliac joints are at the base of the spine and connect the hip bone (the ilium) to the sacrum.

Pain happens for many reasons. Chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, are a common cause. Injuries, such as falls, are also a culprit for causing ongoing sacroiliac joint pain.

Inflammation in the ligaments around the joint, or the degradation of the bone itself, are what cause long-term chronic pain.

Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

There are two types of sacroiliac joint pain: acute and chronic.

Acute pain occurs after a trauma to the area. The ligaments can be stretched in a fall, for example, and this also harms the muscles in the area. Acute pain like this often resolves on its own in a few weeks.

Chronic pain is when the problem persists for more than three months. Acute pain can trigger chronic pain if, for example, a tear injury to the ligament results in permanent damage.

Musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis also trigger long-term chronic sacroiliac joint pain.

Sacroiliac Joint Problems: Symptoms to Look out For

A key symptom of a problem with your sacroiliac joint is a persistent pain in your lower back. This could be in one area or feel like it radiates out to your hip.

You have two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of your sacrum. This means that pain is most often experienced on one side, but in severe or long-term problems the pain will radiate across both sides of the lower back.

Movement will worsen the pain, especially transitional movement such as moving from sitting to standing. Staying immobile, either standing or sitting, for long periods of time will also increase the discomfort.

The sciatic nerve is often irritated with sacroiliac joint problems, too. This nerve runs through the buttock down the back of the leg. If the nerve is irritated you will feel pain in these areas as well as the base of your back.

Pain Relief with a Sacroiliac Joint Injection

There are several treatment routes for sacroiliac joint pain. Chronic pain sufferers find a combination of the below will help to reduce their pain.

Over-the-Counter Painkillers

Start your treatment plan by trying over-the-counter painkillers from your local pharmacy. These will reduce inflammation to minimize pain.

However, this is only a short-term solution as painkillers have their own risks and side effects, such as causing digestive problems.

Prescription Medication

Your doctor will be able to prescribe stronger painkillers than you can buy at the pharmacy counter. 

However, these are also a short-term solution and have added risks such as dependency on opioid-based medications.

Sacroiliac Braces

A special brace that wraps around the lower back can help to stabilize the inflamed joint. The wrap provides added support to the area, reduces the load on your muscles, and limits mobility to avoid aggravating an inflamed sacroiliac joint.

However, a brace shouldn’t be relied upon all day, every day, as this will weaken the muscles and risk further pain.

Chiropractic Manipulation

A trained chiropractor can manipulate your joints into a more neutral alignment to help reduce sacroiliac joint pain.

However, manual therapy can be expensive and will not provide long-term relief without being used in conjunction with other treatment options. Chiropractors focus on bone alignment, rather than muscles, and both elements need to be treated for successful pain reduction.

Physical Therapy

Sacroiliac joint pain can be helped with physical therapy. Exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the joint will reduce inflammation and prevent flare-ups of pain.

However, you will need to take other courses of treatment, such as painkillers, to reduce inflammation enough for exercise to be conducted safely.

Joint Injections

A steroid injection directly into the sacroiliac joint is an ideal long-term pain relief solution.

The injection reduces inflammation over a longer period of time than painkillers and is safe even for patients who are unable to take some forms of pain blocker medications, too. 

What to Expect During Your Treatment

The injection you receive is a combination of a local anesthetic and a steroid. 

You will lay down on a sterile table and a numbing cream may be applied to the area of your lower back to reduce any discomfort. An x-ray machine may be used to guide a needle to the joint in need of injecting.

The fluid is injected directly into the area of pain, in this case near the sacroiliac joint. The local anesthetic will provide some instant pain relief, but the actual injection may cause a little discomfort at first.

The entire procedure is very short and is an outpatient treatment. That means you only need to be at the treatment center during your appointment – you can go home afterward.

Post-Injection Care Tips for Long-Term Pain Relief

Once the anesthetic wears off, your pain may return for up to 48 hours. Don’t be disheartened! It takes a few days for the longer-term steroid ingredients to get to work on your joint.

There is sometimes a little bruising and discomfort around the injection site, too. You can alleviate this by applying an ice pack for ten minutes every hour until the site feels less sore.

After a few days, inflammation will be significantly reduced and your pain minimal or even gone completely.

This is a good time to take up gentle exercise and find a physical therapist for additional support. Learn some stretches and exercises that will add flexibility to your lower back, strengthen your core muscles for support, and reduce the chance of your pain returning.

Seek Pain Relief for Your Back Pain Today

Chronic back pain doesn’t have to disrupt your life the way it does right now. A sacroiliac joint injection could significantly reduce your long-term pain experience and help you move towards a pain-free life.

Book an appointment with a pain specialist to discover if an injection, or other treatment option, will be able to help your back pain problems.


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