SacroIliac Joint Blocks

A Sacroiliac joint block is one of the most fun medical procedures to pronounce, but the same fun unfortunately cannot be found in the symptoms leading up to its necessity. However, fortunately for all of us with severe lower back pain, the Sacroiliac joint block procedure exists to relieve us of such pain. So, what is a Sacroiliac joint block you ask?

What is a Sacroiliac joint?

Well, first let’s explain what a Sacroiliac (or SI) joint is. The Sacroiliac is a joint that connects the pelvis with the sacrum and is found near the spine. In other words, it connects your hip with the bottom of your spine. Sounds important, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. In fact, of all the joints in or near the spine, the sacroiliac is the largest. When pain and discomfort emanating from this particular spot begins to show its unwanted face, many people confuse the pain with back pain emanating from the spine itself, when in reality that would refer to a different area entirely. Sacroiliac joint pain is more common that you might think and often goes undiagnosed and almost always goes self-misdiagnosed when people fail to get professionally tested. There is a specific procedure called a block that is often performed for people suffering from this pain.

How would I know I needed a Sacroiliac joint block?

Well, this procedure is almost always performed when arthritis is involved. Many people develop arthritis in their sacroiliac joint (where the hipbone and spine connect) and this procedure is designed to relieve that pain. So, if you’re experiencing chronic back pain, it would be a good idea for you to get checked out by a professional to determine whether or not you potentially need to undergo this procedure. Side note: it is much more common for women to experience this type of joint discomfort than men. Additionally, middle-aged and younger women have more frequent diagnoses than do elderly women.

What exactly is a Sacroiliac joint block?

It is a medical procedure wherein injections are instigated in and around the effected sacroiliac joint designed to reinforce and cushion it, alleviating the arthritic pain and preventing further damage where the hipbone and spine meet. This procedure is also simultaneously used to diagnose the severity of one’s sacroiliac condition, killing two birds with one injection. So, a sacroiliac joint block was conceived to be both therapeutic and diagnostic in the sense that by performing this procedure, the exact structural irregularity can be ascertained (locating the pain) as well as to reduce the amount of inflammation in the affected area by injecting corticosteroids.

So what does the procedure entail?

Well, the goal of the medical professional performing the procedure is to deposit the medication (via injection) either directly in the sacroiliac joint, or in some cases directly to the right or to the left of it. Live X-ray (alternately known as fluoroscopic guidance) is used by the doctor as the needle is inserted. The needle will contain lidocaine or something similar as well as a steroid, respectively designed to numb the area as well as act as an anti-inflammatory. It’s more than likely that someone who underwent this procedure will have to return a second time possibly a third time over the course of a 12 month period to fully complete the process successfully. It is also more than likely that a person would be required to undergo some form of chiropractic manipulation as well as physical therapy post-operation.

What precautions need to be considered?

Certainly discontinue any medication that has any blood-thinning agents, anti-inflammatory agents, or aspirin-like agents for at least 5 days prior to surgery. Don’t eat or drink for at least 6 hours before any test or surgery related to a sacroiliac joint block. And of course make sure someone other than yourself drive you home after the operation.