Sacroiliac Joint Injections

What is a sacroiliac joint injection?

A sacroiliac joint injection is an injection of local anesthetic and a steroid medication into the sacroiliac joint. Due to the numbing medicine used during this procedure, you may experience temporary pain relief afterwards that may last several hours. Once the numbing medicine wears off, however, your pain will most likely return. The steroid medication may give longer lasting pain relief and usually begins working after 24-48 hours.

What are the risks of the procedure?

As with most procedures, there is a remote risk of bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to the medications used. Additional short-term effects may occur. You may have some temporary numbness or weakness in your legs caused by the local anesthetic (numbing medicine). If this interferes with your ability to walk safely, you will have to remain in the clinic until it resolves. You may have increased pain for a few days after the injection, including localized pain at the injection site. Diabetics may have short-term elevation of blood sugars as a result of the steroid medication.

Will the injection hurt a lot?

Most people say the stinging/burning of the numbing medicine is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure (this lasts only a few seconds); however, if you experience too much pain please notify the doctor.

How do I prepare for my procedure?

You may take your medications with as usual. Diabetics should check their blood sugar levels at home before coming in. If you are taking any blood thinners such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or any others, these medications must be discontinued well before the procedure. You will be directed by our staff as to when you should stop this medication. Please make the doctor aware that you are taking blood thinning medications, and contact your primary care physician or prescribing physician before stopping this medication.

What happens during the actual procedure?

You will be assisted to the x-ray table and made as comfortable as possible lying on your stomach. Your injection site is cleansed with an antiseptic cleansing solution such as betadine or chlorhexidine, and then your skin is covered by sterile drapes. The skin is numbed with local anesthetic (numbing medicine). Using X-ray guidance, a needle is advanced into the sacroiliac joint. Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) and steroid are then injected into the joint, and the needle is removed. The injection site will be cleansed, and a band-aid will be applied. You will be given verbal and written discharge instructions and may go home shortly after.

How will I feel after the injection?

Your pain may be improved immediately after the injection from the local anesthetic. Once the numbing medicine wears off, your pain may return. It is possible that you will have some soreness at the injection site and your pain may worsen for a day or two after the procedure. The steroid medication takes 2-3 days to start having an effect in most people. Using an ice pack applied three or four times a day can help alleviate the discomfort at the injection site. You may take your usual pain medication after the injection.

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