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First injection

LisaRachelLLisaRachel Posts: 286
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
I had a fusion last year now having such pain in the SI joint. I'm praying this shot will help!

How long does it last?




  • Lisa:

    I am similar to you. Had L4-S1 fused one year ago. Pain returned. Got my first, and only, S1 ESI in October.

    To answer your question:
    1) The procedure lasted about 90 seconds.
    2) The pain/discomfort from the procedure lasted about 24 hours.
    3) The relief provided by the injection lasted less than 1 second. For me it did absolutely no good.

    As it is turning out, I will most likely have to undergo a revision surgery. That's why the ESI was of no benefit to me.

    Good luck. Hope your outcome is beneficial, as it is for most people.
  • thanks Jim,

    Like you, the relief lasted one sec. I'm in so much pain now I question my decision for trying this out. I'm having burning pain down my left leg and my bum is sore where they injected. Im so disappointed thought this would at least help. Saw my spine surgeon last had my year check up since the fusion he said the xrays look good did not mention if I have fused or not seems to feel positive about my recovery but I'm still in pain!

    Why are you having another surgery?

  • Hey Lisa!! Has he discussed doing an RFA with you? Of course, if the injection didn't work, then the RFA probably wouldn't work either. Sorry it didn't! I had the injection, it helped for a bit, so went ahead and did the RFA, and it's been great. I go for my first lumbar ESI next month though, and you'd think after being through all that, I'd be like, this will be a walk in the park, but I'm more nervous about the ESI, go figure, lol. Maybe just because it's an "epidural" and I always relate that to childbirth LOL. Anyways, hope you find relief soon!! I find a hot bath helps with the leg pain for a time, and ice/heat therapy on the back (10 minutes ice pack, 10 minutes heat pad, ending with heat. and lots of chocolate ice cream ;)
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • That's a tough question. I think it may vary from one person to another. Some folks get no relief at all and others get nearly total relief that can last for several months.
    I had some relief from my first, lasting a bit over a month. Slowly the different pains began to return. For me the groin pain was the first to improve, but also the first to return.
    I have just had a CT scan of the SI joints and the surgeon told me that I will need to have a fusion on the joint due to major arthritic deterioration of them. I am hoping to postpone the surgery for a while. I have had 2 fusion surgeries last year and need more time.
    I decided to have another round of the injections hoping to get as much relief as I can.

    I hope that your injections help you and last for a very long time!
  • Lisa:

    I am one year since my TLIF L4-S1 fusion. Based upon my continuing and increasing symptomatic pain, with no response to med's or injections and with imaging dianostics, my surgeon has recommended a revision surgery.

    I am delaying my decision and hoping that more time will be beneficial. However, he said that if it has not fused within one year then it will not fuse under the current circumstances.

    This is a very heavy decision. Right now I have my head stuck very deeply in the "denial" sand.
  • Thanks for your impute.

    This shot has complety made my pain worse! It seems my back is in spasm now.

    Kelly i'm worried now to do another shot, not sure it's going to work anyway...

    Jim, I'm so sorry you must be stressed out but you know it will happen again hopefully this time will be the last. I will have to have more too but not for awhile.

  • airborne72 said:

    I am similar to you. Had L4-S1 fused one year ago. Pain returned. Got my first, and only, S1 ESI in October.

    To answer your question:
    1) The procedure lasted about 90 seconds.
    2) The pain/discomfort from the procedure lasted about 24 hours.
    3) The relief provided by the injection lasted less than 1 second. For me it did absolutely no good.

    As it is turning out, I will most likely have to undergo a revision surgery. That's why the ESI was of no benefit to me.

    Good luck. Hope your outcome is beneficial, as it is for most people.
    My experience had to be about the same; And had several after my first. Nothing helped. It helps for some, so I hope it helps for you.
  • I just decided to make my injection appointment tomorrow, but after reading these posts, I'm having second thoughts. Both my doctor and PT are totally in favor of getting the shot.

    I can definitely think of more "cons" than "pros" in making my decision. But the chance of a big improvement, even if just for a few months, is really tempting me. I don't know what to do!
  • Here it is, a month later, and I still can't decide whether or not to get the SI joint injection. Just came back from vacation, and it's really hurting. Prior to my lumbar fusion a year ago, I had 3 ESI's with no problems (except the second and third did not help).

    If it makes things worse for a few days and only helps for a month, I don't think it will be worth it. Based on other patients' experiences, it seems this is just a gamble. I don't want to take off from work, pay a $150 (I think) copay, and have worse pain than I already have.

    Any feedback on positive results (pain not made worse, several months of relief) would make me feel a lot better.
  • Hey Mary Ellen-
    I am a total cheerleader for the SI joint block. I had been in excruciating pain for about 18 months -- not just at the joint, but referred pain into the leg. Driving to and from work was agony; the pain would flare up after just 10 minutes in the car. I got the block in November 2011 and it was an instant miracle. It lasted for a long time, too. The SI joint pain started coming back in March -- however, the leg pain never came back.

    However, I probably won't get another one. I'm trying to manage the SI problem with prolotherapy. And I'm also getting cortisone epidurals for a pinched nerve, and having both shots makes my hormones go crazy.

    I hope you make the best decision and get relief!
  • Thanks for the feedback LA. I am waiting for the physician's assistant to call me back so I can ask him more questions, then maybe I will schedule the shot.
  • I am being told by my pain management doctor that insurance companies are denying payment now as they are saying this procedure along with SI injections are experimental. I have not yet been rejected by my insurer but if I am, I intend to fight it like hell!

    Any recent experiences or changes in coverage experienced?

  • Wow, I haven't even thought of the possibility that the SI joint injection might not be covered by my insurance. Will need to check it out. Hope you feel better soon.
  • What are everyone's thoughts about anesthesia for getting this shot. I had it for my ESI's, so assumed I'd get it for this. Some patients have said that they prefer to be awake, so they can make sure the doctor hits the right spot. I can't take pain like I used to, and think I'd rather be out.
  • Notification Test - Disregard
  • My first (and hopefully only) injection is tomorrow morning. I'm getting the procedure done at the hospital where I work. They normally give IV sedation. If I end up getting a second injection later, and neither one works, what other tests would they do to find out if there is something else wrong? Or is it possible you could get two injections that just didn't work, and the diagnosis really is SIJD? Wish me luck!
  • Had my first injection on Tuesday, and think it is helping somewhat. In combination with the new Serola belt I just tried out today, I'm finally getting some relief. Belt only cost me $30 -- definitely worth it.
  • I had a 360 fusion of L4-S1 4.5 months ago and have had lower back/leg pain ever since (differing from the pre-surgery pain).

    Neurosurgeon wanted the SI shot as a diagnostic. I went last week to get it after waiting a month for an appointment. They did local anesthetic three times and it still was excruciating when they tried to put the shot in.

    Went back today and they gave me something IV that did not completely knock me out but certainly made me relaxed. I was worried that it wouldn't be complete pain relief, but it was.

    My only problem with getting the shot this way is that I was so numb and relaxed afterwards that I have no idea now whether the pain actually went away after the shot. I came home and had to sleep for 3 hours. Got up and felt kinda okay. Went out walking to see if the pain would flare up and it did come back, especially the leg pain. Possibly not as badly as before but now I have no clue whether the diagnostic worked and the cortisone is not working, or if the diagnostic didn't work and I was just really blissed out on medication.

    So, as far as it being a diagnostic test post fusion to see if it's really the SI joint causing the pain, it's hard to tell if you take the mind-altering medication route.

    The only thing that can now lead us to the conclusion that it's the SI joint is the fact that it was so incredibly painful for them to try to inject it under local anesthetic - probably the sensitivity was due to inflammation.

    Wish I'd gotten more pain relief from it. The nap was nice though :)
  • Hi Lu, yes, there's an SIJD Facebook group, and we discussed the benefits of local vs. sedation. They say it's sometimes better to get the local, so you can tell right away if they hit the right spot. The steroid won't start working right away, might even take days. But if you find you have immediate relief with the local, it should mean they hit the right spot, and confirms the diagnosis.

    My results are a bit questionable. I had sedation. No pain at all from the procedure. I asked the doctors who performed my injection, and they always do SI joint injections with IV sedation. I think it helped, but not a huge difference. The belt is probably helping me more. Not sure, just happy to be able to walk more than I have in a year. Hope the steroid kicks in for you soon.
  • Hi MaryEllen,

    I didn't know that the steroid can take a while to work. I have some hope now that it'll give me some relief.

    I also didn't know there were belts available to help with SI problems. That seems like it's worth trying.

    My neuro suggested that if the steroid shot works then we would use "aggressive physical therapy" to build muscular support for the SI joint. Does that actually work in practice I wonder?
  • Well, in my experience over the last year, physical therapy helped me with SIJD twice. After the last two flareups, it seemed to have stopped working.

    I have only been using new Serola belt less than a week, and the improvement has been dramatic. The pain comes back when I take the belt off, so it looks to me like the belt is doing a lot more for me than the injection did. I have been able to walk longer and faster than I have in a long time. Getting into and out of the car, driving, walking sitting, standing, are all less painful now. Sure wish I had tried this a long time ago. It's less than $30 if you buy it on Amazon -- definitely worth a try.
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