Sacroiliac Joint Injection

Sacroiliac (SI) joint injection is a treatment for pain in the lower back. The small SI joint lies at the junction of the spine and pelvis. Pain may be a result of inflammation and can be treated by injecting local anesthetics and steroids (cortisone) directly into the joint. It’s a factor in many cases of chronic low back pain. Patients also may develop pain in the sacroiliac joint with medical conditions including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis, fracture, malignancy, congenital deformity, infection, pregnancy, and others. The numbing medicine provides short-term relief while the steroid provides longer-lasting relief, but probably will not begin working until one to two days later. If the steroid block is effective, the nerves causing the pain can be burned to provide long-lasting relief. Patients are placed on an x-ray table on their stomach. A small intravenous line is started in one hand to relax the patient. Numbing (local) medicine will be injected into a small area of skin at the injection site. The doctor will direct a small needle into the joint under x-ray guidance. Contrast material (dye) will be used to ensure proper needle position inside the joint space prior to the injection. 

Treating pain effectively requires comprehensive and specialized care. The physicians and staff of the UAB Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine offer the latest in pain management techniques, backed by the expertise, knowledge, and research of one of the country’s largest academic medical centers. In both the hospital and the clinic, the needs of each patient are carefully considered, and we design each treatment plan to provide the best possible results.

We understand that relief from pain is critical to recovery. Our approach combines compassionate care with image-guided procedures, physical therapy, psychological assistance, medication, and ongoing consults with your primary care physicians. Our program puts less emphasis on opioid medications and tries to help patients improve their enjoyment of life by focusing on daily exercise, better nutrition, and stress reduction through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques.

Our innovative physicians and researchers continue to advance the field of pain management with studies that explore new therapies and treatment approaches, which may give patients access to treatments not yet available at most medical centers. We work closely with the departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Palliative Care to provide complete care for our patients.

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