What is a Sacroiliac Injection?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 16 February 2020
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A sacroiliac injection is the administration of medication directly into the sacroiliac joint. This large joint is located in the lower back area, connecting the pelvis and spine. Typically, the injection is composed of steroids and an anesthetic. A special type of x-ray known as a fluoroscopy is commonly used to guide the injection to the correct location. The injection may provide relief from the pain of the sacroiliac joint which may radiate from the lower back into the buttocks and legs.

If inflamed, the sacroiliac (SI) joint can cause great joint pain. Nerves line the sacroiliac joint. Additionally, pain may result if these nerves become irritated. Arthritis is a common condition that can cause problems of the sacroiliac joint. A sacroiliac injection can be helpful in soothing symptoms of underlying arthritis in this area as well.


Lower back pain which may be caused by irritation or inflammation of the sacroiliac joint can be difficult to diagnose. For this reason, a sacroiliac injection may be used as a source of treatment as well as a diagnostic tool. If a patient continues to have pain in the lower back area after receiving an injection, this may inform physicians that the sacroiliac joint is not the cause for the lower back pain. This will lead the physician to seek other possible causes. Pain and inflammation that is relieved after receiving an injection may indicate that the sacroiliac joint is the cause of pain, and injections may be continued for relief of problematic symptoms.

Injuries to the sacroiliac joint are referred to as a sacroiliac dysfunction. In addition to pain in the buttocks and lower back, a sacroiliac dysfunction may also cause pain in the groin area, abdomen, and hips. There are some common ways to injure the sacroiliac joint. Bending and twisting the pelvis in awkward ways could result in an injury of this joint. Additionally, a vehicle accident or hard fall could also cause an injury.

The doctor giving the sacroiliac joint injection typically will instruct the patient on how to prepare for the injection before it takes place. Preparations may include altering prescription medications in the days prior to the injection. The doctor can also inform the patient of whether or not it may be necessary to eliminate eating within the hours before the injection. Transportation usually should be arranged as driving may not be possible after the injection.

During the sacroiliac injection procedure, the patient will lie on the stomach as an x-ray machine is used to help guide the injection into the proper location. Contrasting dye may also be used to highlight the area of interest. The area will be numbed prior to the needle being inserted to deliver medication directly into the sacroiliac joint. This typically is an outpatient procedure and the patient will typically remain in-place for at least 30 minutes after receiving the injection.

Side effects of receiving a sacroiliac injection may include numbness in the leg and a reaction to the medication injected into the sacroiliac joint. Possible medication reactions may include a headache, fever, and flushing of the face. There can also be a minimal risk of infection as is the case any time the skin is breached, which includes the insertion of a needle. A doctor can help a patient decide whether or not an injection into the sacroiliac joint may be beneficial on an individual basis. Any complications following an injection should immediately be reported to a health professional.



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