Sacroiliac Joint Pain

What is a sacroiliac joint injection used for?

A sacroiliac joint injection or a sacroiliac joint block is used mostly for the diagnosis or treatment of lower back pain or symptoms that are associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Joint dysfunction or joint pain may cause pain. This procedure is used to determine what is causing the patient pain and to relieve them of it. This procedure is either done with one injection to determine the source and supply the relief or to do one or the other.


What is a diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection?

This procedure is used to make sure that the diagnosis of the sacroiliac joint dysfunction is correct. The sacroiliac joint is numbed with a local anesthetic using X-ray guidance. Contrast is injected into the joint once the needle enters the sacroiliac joint. The dye is used to ensure that the medication is placed in the right spot and that it is spreading correctly. A numbing medication is then inserted with the needle and then the patient is asked to make the movement that normally causes pain. If most of the pain is relieved, they have confirmed a tentative diagnosis for sacroiliac joint dysfunction. The diagnosis can be confirmed by using a second diagnostic sacroiliac injection using different numbing agents.


What is the therapeutic sacroiliac joint injection?

This is the procedure that is used to relieve patients of the pain for sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It is performed using the same techniques as the diagnostic test however an anti-inflammatory medication is added with the injection to not only reduce the inflammation but also reduce the pain. If the patient is pain free for an extended period of time, they can begin a rehabilitation program or therapy. This may allow them to return back to their normal activity or help to further reduce the amount of pain the patient experiences.


How frequently can the procedure be done?

If it is successful, it can be repeated for up to three times in a year. It would be used with a rehabilitation program and physical therapy to work to maintain the patient’s normal function.


What can the patient expect?

The procedure will be performed in a regular operating room and it only takes a few minutes to complete. The patient will be able to go home the same day as well.


Will the procedure hurt?

There is some discomfort because it involves the insertion of a needle through the skin and through deeper tissue. A local anesthetic can be used to numb this area and if a very thin needle is used, it will provide pain management. Some patients also get intravenous sedation or analgesia which can provide additional pain management.

What to expect afterwards?

Right after the injection, the patient will feel a reduction in pain because of the local anesthetic that was used. After a day or so, you may find that your neck and back pain has returned. The pain relief should start around day five.



Spine-Health: Trusted Information for Back Pain. (2012). Sacroiliac Joint Injection. Retrieved from

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