In the early 1900’s, until disc herniations and nerve root inflammation were recognized as more common causes of spinal pain, the sacroiliac (SI) joint was often believed to be the common cause of back and buttock pain. Studies have since revealed that the true prevalence of sacroiliac joint pain is actually closer to 10-15%.
Similar to diagnosing and treating facet joint pain, injections to the sacroiliac joint can be performed for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Diagnostic injections are performed with anesthetic placed into the sacroiliac joint under fluoroscopic guidance. During the life of the injection anesthetic, the patient’s level of pain relief is recorded. Similar to the case with facet joint pain, the only reliable means of confirming the sacroiliac joint as a true pain generator (“Sacroliiac joint syndrome”) is to perform a diagnostic injection. Therapeutic injections to the sacroiliac joint are performed in a similar fashion but with the injection of corticosteroid to address painful inflammation or degeneration. Such injections can accurately performed only with the use of fluoroscopic guidance.