Interventional Pain Management

Tests and Procedures

Sacroiliac Joint Injections and
Radiofrequency Denervation

Sacroiliitis and Sacroiliac Joint Pain

You have two sacroiliac joints (one on your left and one on your right) that connect the bottom of the spine (specifically, the sacrum) to the hips. When one or both of these joints become inflamed, it is called sacroiliitis. You might feel pain anywhere from your lower back all the way down your legs. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate from other conditions that can cause pain in these areas, which can cause issues with diagnosis.

There are two methods for treating sacroiliac joint pain: sacroiliac joint injections and radiofrequency denervation.

Sacroiliac Joint Injections

Sacroiliac joint injections function both as a diagnostic tool and a treatment method. For diagnosis, a local anesthetic is injected into the joint while the area is being x-rayed (to confirm that the injection is being done correctly). If the patient experiences significant relief from the pain after the injections, it can be a sign that they are suffering from sacroiliitis. For the purpose of treatment, the same procedure is performed, except that an anti-inflammatory substance is injected to help provide more significant pain relief.

This procedure carries a very low risk factor, although the rare side effects can include bleeding and infection.

Radiofrequency Denervation

Radiofrequency denervation is a treatment that attempts to end sacroiliac joint pain by placing heat lesions on nerves that are sending pain communications to the brain. In this procedure, radiofrequency needles are inserted into the affected area, at which point a probe will be injected in order to cause a controlled heat lesion. This essentially burns the nerve, disrupting its ability to communicate pain signals. Radiofrequency denervation procedures are conducted under live fluoroscopic guidance to ensure it is being done properly.

This procedure also carries a low risk factor, but bleeding and infection can occur in rare circumstances.