A sacroiliac block, or sacroiliac joint injection, is a medical technique designed to minimize pain and inflammation that can occur in the sacroiliac joints. These joints are located between the sacrum and iliums, have limited mobility, and act as shock absorbers for the lower body. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can sometimes occur due to excessive and improper movement of the body, or due to a lack of exercise and insufficient movement. The condition may cause referred pain to the lower extremities or back, which can sometimes make proper diagnosis difficult. This procedure is sometimes used for diagnostic purposes, which enables clinicians to better determine the source of an individual’s pain.
Initially, patients are positioned on their stomach, and given a local anesthetic to decrease the discomfort associated with the primary injection. Valium is offered to patients for additional sedation and relaxation. When the patient is comfortable, a thin needle is inserted directly into the sacroiliac joint area above the buttocks. A fluoroscopy machine is used during this process to assist the clinician with proper needle placement. When the physician is satisfied with the needle’s location, anesthetic agents, steroid medications, or a mixture of the drugs are then injected. The procedure itself takes a few minutes, with time afterwards for patient rest. Our offices advise that a friend or family member provide transportation, and that the patient refrain from eating heavy foods prior to the procedure.
Patients who receive a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and anesthetic agents should expect immediate pain-relief for several hours after the procedure. If the sacroiliac joint is indeed responsible for a person’s discomfort, the strong anti-inflammatory agents will slowly decrease the pain and swelling, allowing patients to pursue physical therapy treatment and increased exercise. Additional injections are sometimes required if the initial treatment has limited effectiveness, or the injected medications weaken and the pain returns.