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The large joint that joins the base of your spine to your pelvis is called the sacroiliac joint. There are actually two joints – one on the right and one on the left.

Arthritis, wear and tear or a strain in this area can cause lower back and leg pain (sciatica). If conservative methods to treat this pain are not successful your consultant may recommend a sacroiliac joint injection.

What happens during sacroiliac joint injections?

Sacroiliac joint injections take just a few minutes. They are usually performed in an operating theatre by a special team. You will be asked to lay on your front. An anaesthetist will insert a tiny needle into the vein in the back of your hand to give you medication for pain or to help you relax. You will need to remain awake during your injection so that your consultant can ask you questions.

Your consultant will insert a local anaesthetic into the area to be injected. Using an x-ray machine the consultant will locate the exact point in the joint to be injected. They will insert a contrast dye to confirm that any medication injected will flow around the correct area. They will then guide a needle into the joint and inject medication.

Two types of medication may be used:

  • A local anaesthetic may be injected for temporary pain relief to help confirm what area of the sacroiliac joint is causing the pain. This is called a diagnostic injection
  • An anti-inflammatory medication may be injected to reduce inflammation and reduce pain over a longer period. This is called a therapeutic injection.

After sacroiliac joint injections

Your consultant may ask you to perform activities that would normally cause you pain. They will note your level of pain.

You may be asked to wait in a recovery area to confirm you will not have any reaction to the medications used or until any sedation has worn off. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to drive you home. You should rest the day of your injection and the day after your injection if possible. 

Drink plenty of fluids to help flush any dye used from your body.

Following your injection your consultant may recommend physiotherapy.

The level of pain relief provided by sacroiliac joint injections varies. Be sure and discuss any concerns you have with your consultant.

As with any procedure there can be complications. These could include:

  • Reaction to medications used
  • Bruising or soreness
  • Infection at the injection site
  • Numbness or nerve damage

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns with your consultant?

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624 488
Overall rating Good

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavy Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

0113 388 2111
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 382551
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775 861
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Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286 991
Overall rating Good

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 360 100
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531 111
Overall rating Good

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

01483 227800
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715 000
Overall rating Good

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