Located at the base of the spine by the pelvis near the hip socket, the sacroiliac (SI) joint can be a source of lower back pain and related radiating pain from pressure on nearby nerves. A common treatment for SI joint pain is an injection, also called a sacroiliac joint block, which is placed directly into the affected area. Beverly Hills spine surgeons discuss this condition and a treatment that has often proven effective.
Diagnosing SI Joint Pain
The initial purpose of an SI joint injection is to help achieve an accurate diagnosis because radiating pain can have multiple possible sources. It’s not always easy to tell from image tests (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs) alone if the SI joint is the true source of a patient’s discomfort. For diagnostic purposes, the injection process involves:
- X-ray guidance to ensure the shot is placed in the right location
- Injection of contrast to control the spread of the medication
- Injection of a numbing medication
The patient will then be asked to perform the movements or motions that normally cause the pain. If relief from pain is experienced while the anesthetic is still working, an initial diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction is made. The diagnosis is usually confirmed with a similar process after a second injection.
Treating SI Joint Pain
For treatment purposes, SI joint injections are combined with an anti-inflammatory medications, usually in the form of a corticosteroid, to reduce swelling around the joint while also reducing pain. A lateral branch block involving small spinal nerves leading to the SI joint is sometimes performed to determine if a patient is a candidate for a remedy known as radiofrequency nerve ablation.
In addition to injections, treatment for SI joint dysfunction may include the application of heat or ice for 15 to 20 minutes at a time off and on throughout the day and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen. Bracing or support in the form of a wide belt worn around the waist may also provide relief.
Learn more about treatments for severe back pain by getting in touch with The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We specialize in a wide variety of spinal fusion procedures and alternative solutions like the total disc replacement Santa Monica patients sometimes opt for. Give us a call today at 310-828-7757 to learn more and to schedule an appointment.