Sacroiliac Joint Injection

What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?

A Sacroiliac joint injection is used to diagnose or treat lower back pain that comes from your sacroiliac joint. This joint is the place where your spine connects to your pelvis. For the procedure, your healthcare provider injects medicine directly into the joint to ease pain.

How Sacroiliac Joint Injections WorkSacroiliac Joint Injection

SI joint pain may originate from within the joint itself or from surrounding structures, such as the SI ligament. An SI joint injection may be given around the joint—periarticular injection or within the joint—intra-articular injection. Typically, corticosteroids mixed with anesthetics are used.

Intra-articular injections and peri-articular injections
The two types of SI joint injections are:

  • Intra-articular injections. These injections are given within the synovial capsule of the joint.
  • Periarticular injections. These injections usually target the nerves in the posterior pelvis since the majority of the neural innervation of the SI joint is concentrated in the region behind the joint. These injections are given in the fibrous, ligamentous area of the joint.

In the peri-articular technique, the exact location for the injection is unclear, with doctors suggesting injecting at varying depths to reach the desired amount of pain-relief.1 Typically, fluoroscopy is used to guide the needle to the accurate location in an intra-articular technique. For periarticular injections, ultrasound guidance may be used. A contrast dye can be used to help guide the needle to the proper location and avoid injecting into a blood vessel.

Success Rates of SI Joint Injections

The success rates of different types of SI joint injection have reported conflicting results. Sometimes, both intra-articular and periarticular injections may be given together to increase injection efficacy. Some studies suggest that the peri-articular injections may be more effective in providing pain relief compared to intra-articular injections.1

See Treatment Options for SI Joint Dysfunction

Not all SI treatment injections are effective in the long-term. However, these injections may be used to diagnose SI joint pain. The injections may also help to improve the functional outcome of the SI joint through participation in rehabilitative treatments such as physical therapy and other therapies.

Risks of Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Risks related to SI joint injections usually occur infrequently. Typical risks include:

  • An allergic reaction to the medications used in the injection.
  • Bruising and/or soreness at the injection site.
    Infection at the injection site, deeper tissues within the joint, or the pelvis.
  • Nerve or spinal cord damage if the needle penetrates a nearby lumbar nerve or the epidural space.

Post-injection pain and soreness are not considered a risk and usually resolves within a few days of the injection.