Lower back and hip pain is often caused by arthritis in the sacroiliac joints, which are located on both sides of the sacrum at the point where the spine and hip bone join together. In order to relieve pain caused by your arthritis, your physician may recommend an injection of anesthetic and steroid medication into the area around the sacroiliac joint.
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under sedation for your comfort and usually takes between 15 to 20 minutes. While lying face down on a table, the skin is cleaned and numbed with local anesthetic. Your physician uses a fluoroscopic X-ray machine to help guide the needle into the sacroiliac joint.
Steroid medications work by decreasing the inflammation that is causing the pain. The medication is injected and the needle is removed. The effects of the injection should be noticed immediately as a decrease or total relief of pain.
After the procedure, you will be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes as you recover from the sedation. You will need someone to drive you home. Your pain may return as the anesthetic wears off while the steroid medication takes 24 to 48 hours to begin to relieve the pain.
The effects of the injection vary from patient to patient, but can last several months or longer. If effective, the procedure can usually be repeated. If the patient reports significant pain relief, your physician may recommend a Radiofrequency Treatment of the nerves, also called a Rhizotomy, to obtain long-term pain relief.