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Sacroiliac Joint Injection Treatment in New Jersey

Man's hands on his back with red spot as suffering on backache.Sacroiliac joints are the parts of the spine responsible for keeping the sacrum attached to the hip. The spine consists of two sacroiliac joints (one on each side of the back) to absorb shock to the legs during physical activity. However, these joints can become inflamed and lead to painful symptoms, causing a condition known as sacroiliitis.

A sacroiliac joint injection can confirm the diagnose of sacroiliitis and treat this condition. It can relieve symptoms of lower back pain associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It cannot treat sciatica which is a common diagnosis that sacroiliitis is confused. Sciatica needs to be treated differently. The SI joint injection, which will only treat sacroiliitis, is an easy procedure that can be done in the office by a CNSO pain management doctor. Delivering high-quality, compassionate care to patients in New Jersey, learn more about sacroiliac joint injection treatment at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics.

Preparing for the Procedure

Before deciding if a sacroiliac joint injection will be beneficial, doctors will conduct a physical examination of the patient to study the areas of discomfort. If the patient is diagnosed with SI joint pain, the CNSO doctor, following the recommended evidenced-based medical guidelines, will prescribe physical therapy for the SI joint before resorting to any injections. In some cases, rehabilitative efforts can decrease symptoms and help isolate the origins of the pain. If physical therapy fails to resolve the symptoms of sacroiliitis, the patient may advance to further treatment techniques which is a sacroiliac joint injection. This procedure can be schedule as an appointment in the office or in a surgical center.  Most insurance companies will require CNSO to submit an authorization request prior to them agreeing to cover the procedure.

Any patient on blood thinners will need to be evaluated as to whether the medications should or should not be held temporarily and for how long both before and after the procedure.  A medical doctor or a CNSO doctor will advise the patient.  In addition, the CNSO doctor may not complete the injection if a patient contracts an infection and is ill on the scheduled day of the procedure. 

Risks of Sacroiliac Joint Injections

While the likelihood of complications from the injection are very low and serious risks are typically uncommon following a sacroiliac joint injection procedure, below are possible post procedure experiences:

  • Allergic reaction to the steroid or local anesthetic
  • Temporary numbness or weakness in legs
  • Increased pain
  • Raised blood sugar levels for diabetics
  • Excess bleeding from the injection site
  • Infection

By adhering to the proper pre-op and post-surgery protocols, patients can further decrease the chances of any complications occurring. Most of these symptoms typically appear during or immediately after completion of the procedure. Thus, doctors will monitor patients in the facility for a short time, (30 minutes) following the procedure. Risks like infection or increased pain can occur after a few days or within a week after the procedure making it important that patients communicate any symptoms and to definitely attend their one week follow up appointment.

What to Expect During the Procedure

When a patient arrives for the procedure, the nurse will first check the patient’s vital signs to ensure they are within the normal limits. If a patient has recently taken blood-thinning medications or indulged in foods or fluids on the day of the procedure, it will result in the need for the procedure to be postponed unless the patient is not having IV anesthesia. Food intake can delay the procedure for one to 8 hours or require the need to be rescheduled on a different day if IV sedation is to be used. After a comprehensive medical intake is complete, patients will change into a gown. Once the patient and pain management doctor are ready, the patient will be asked to lay face down with the problematic SI joint area exposed. This gives the doctor direct access to the sacroiliac joint.  

Before starting the procedure, the pain management doctor will clean the injection site using an antiseptic cleaner. They will then numb the skin using a local anesthetic. This will eliminate any discomfort in the area while the doctor is working to access the SI joint. Using an ultrasound or a fluoroscopy machine in real-time to visualize the SI joint, the doctor will place a small open bore needle into the sacroiliac joint. They will then confirm they are in the SI joint by injecting a small amount of saline or contrast dye that will should show accurate needle placement via the ultrasound or fluoroscopy, respectively. Once confirmed, the pain management doctor will place a combination of local anesthetic and steroid medication directly into the sacroiliac joint. These medications work to provide immediate pain relief and decrease inflammation which should provide the patient temporary or lasting pain relief of their sacroiliitis symptoms.

The total duration of time for this pain management procedure is only a few minutes. Because this is a simple, non-invasive procedure, the local anesthetic keeps painful symptoms at bay for hours following the procedure. Within 30 minutes after the procedure, patients will return home and back to their daily living activities. Patients will need a suitable driver to drive them home after the procedure.

After-Care Instructions

Because of the local anesthetic, patients may not feel any pain immediately following the procedure. The steroids take one to two days to begin to work.  As the local medication wears off within a few hours, the patient may start to experience symptoms. Ultimately, the temporary relief confirm the diagnosis of sacroiliitis.

Patients can continue their regular medications other than blood thinners, throughout the pre and post injection period. Although one injection can relieve symptoms, some patients may need more than one throughout their lifetime. Patients can receive up to three injections in one year. But if there is a continued need for SI injection relief, a sacroiliac joint fusion should be considered as it would provide permanent relief.

Sacroiliac Joint Injection Treatment at CNSO

Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics understands how debilitating sacroiliitis symptoms and other back conditions can be for patients. With a dedicated and experienced team of board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, pain management physicians, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists, patients can experience the treatment they need to relieve pain and return to their daily life. Utilizing the most advanced, state-of-the-art medical equipment alongside personalized care allows CNSO to serve patients across New Jersey. To learn more about sacroiliac joint injection treatment, contact CNSO today.

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