Noninvasive Pain Relief Treatments
The body’s joints are supported by many muscle groups and ligaments that are richly innervated by free nerve endings and spinal nerve roots. When there is inflammation to a joint, the abundance of nerves become irritated and patients experience intense low back pain. Patients typically complain that pain associated with sacroiliac joint worsens when sitting for long periods of time or performing twisting motions and will usually resolve with exercise.
Joint injections are minimally invasive, low risk procedures that can cause a significant decrease in symptoms without disrupting your daily activities.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection
A sacroiliac joint injection is an injection of local anesthetic and a steroid medication into the sacroiliac joint. Due to the numbing medicine used during this procedure, you may experience temporary pain relief afterwards that may last several hours. Once the numbing medicine wears off, however, your pain will most likely return. The steroid medication may give longer lasting pain relief and usually begins working after 24-48 hours.
What happens during the procedure?
- During the sacroiliac joint injection procedure patients are assisted to the X-ray table and made as comfortable as possible lying on your stomach.
- Your injection site is cleansed with an antiseptic soap and alcohol, and then covered by sterile drapes.
- The skin is numbed with local anesthetic (numbing medicine). Using X-ray guidance, a needle is advanced into the sacroiliac joint. X-ray dye will be injected to confirm proper placement.
- Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) and steroid are then injected into the joint, and the needle is removed.
- The injection site will be washed and a Band-Aid will be applied.
After the procedure, you will be monitored for an appropriate time in the recovery area (usually 20-30 minutes) where you may be offered juice/soda and graham crackers. You will be given verbal and written discharge instructions, and may go home with your driver after your doctor authorizes discharge.
Your pain may be improved immediately after the injection from the local anesthetic. Once the numbing medicine wears off, your pain may return. It is possible that you will have some soreness at the injection site and your pain may worsen for a day or two after the procedure. The steroid medication takes 2-3 days to start having an effect in most people. Using an ice pack applied three or four times a day can help alleviate the discomfort at the injection site. You may take your usual pain medication after the injection.
Facet Joint Injections
Facet injections are a minimally invasive nonsurgical treatment that is used as treatment for many different causes of neck and back pain. It works by reducing the inflammation and irritation in the facet joints of the spine that is causing you pain.
The facet joint of the spine is a moveable connection that connects one vertebra (bone of the spine) to another. This injection includes both a long-lasting steroid and an anesthetic (lidocaine, bupivacaine). The steroid reduces the inflammation and irritation and the anesthetic works to numb the pain. The combination medicine then spreads to other levels and portions of the spine, reducing inflammation and irritation. The entire procedure usually takes less than 15 minutes
Facet injections have been known to provide relief for back and neck pain.