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Sacroiliac joint block

What is a sacroiliac joint?

The sacroiliac joint joins the sacrum and the iliac bone, which make up your pelvis. This joint can sometimes be the source of back pain.

What is a sacroiliac joint block?

A sacroiliac joint block is an injection containing a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid. Local anaesthetic numbs the joint, giving short-term pain relief. The steroids have a long-term effect by reducing inflammation around the joint. It is usually a few days before the steroid starts to work.

Before the injection

You will need to inform the pain doctor if you are taking Warfarin or Clopidogrel (blood thinning medicine). Warfarin or Clopidogrel may need to be stopped 7-10 days before the procedure. However, not all patients will be asked to stop taking these drugs and the pain doctor will make the decision on a case by case basis. If you are diabetic and take medications for this, you should inform the doctor.

How is it done?

The sacroiliac joint block is performed as a day case procedure. You will be seen on Jefferson ward by one of the pain doctors who will discuss the procedure with you and answer any questions you may have. Shortly before this injection you will need to change into a hospital gown. Please bring a dressing gown and slippers with you. For this injection you will lie on your stomach. Your back will be cleaned with antiseptic solution. Local anaesthetic is injected into skin to numb the area. There may be some discomfort in the back at the time of injection. A small dressing will be applied at the site of the injection, which can be removed after 24 hours. Do not worry if it falls off sooner. This injection is performed under X ray control, therefore if there is any chance you could be pregnant, please inform your pain doctor.

What are the side effects?

  • You may have increased pain or tenderness in your back for a few days following the injection. This usually improves.
  • This injection may not relieve your pain.
  • You may note bruising in the area following the procedure.
  • The steroid may cause facial flushing and fluid retention for two or three days.
  • It may also affect periods for one or two cycles
  • There is a potential risk of infection with any injection, but this is very rare.

What will happen after the injection?

You will need to stay on Jefferson Ward for one hour after the procedure. You will not be allowed to drive home. You will need a friend or family member to collect you and escort you home. If this injection relieves your pain, please remember that it is not a cure. Do not do strenuous activities immediately, but build up your activity level slowly. In the time following your injection you may find this a good opportunity to do any exercises recommended by your physiotherapist. Your pain doctor will usually review you in clinic around 8 to 12 weeks after the injection.

Who do I contact if I have any problems after the procedure?

Your first point of contact will be your own GP, especially if the problem occurs outside normal working hours. If there are any problems with this, you can contact The Walton Centre during normal working hours, on 0151 525 3611 and ask to speak to the secretary of the pain doctor who carried out the procedure. If you require any additional information or you have any further questions, then please discuss this with your pain doctor prior to starting treatment.

  • Last Updated:
    01 April 2024
  • Review Date:
    01 April 2028
  • Author:
    Pain Clinic
  • Summary:

    A sacroiliac joint block is an injection containing a mixture of local anaesthetic and steroid

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