Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Hi all.

I have been in considerable pain on and off since my first pregnancy 23 years ago. It's been almost constant for the last 3/4 years. My lower back and left buttock feel like there is a ball of fire there accompanied by some knitting needles poking in there frequently, weakness in my leg and numbness/altered sensations.

I had always been told that this was sciatica, prescribed painkillers and got on with it. Until the next unbearable episode of pain.

Long story short, I was referred to the pain management clinic in February, seen in July, and diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. I was referred for nerve block injections. I actually cried with gratitude that I was being treated as a person with back pain and not a malingerer with a dependency on opiates and mental health issues ( this was given as my diagnosis in 2013 by a neuro consultant).

I had the diagnostic blocks to L5, S1, 2, and 3 on the 27th October which were AMAZING. I wanted to kiss the whole theatre staff, no pain at all following the injections. My left buttock felt like a heavy feather pillow. Or a marshmallow. Or any other soft fluffy thing you can imagine. It was the biggest relief. Lasted for a good few hours.

Now I am waiting for an appointment for the denervation of L5, S1-3. Hopefully be able to get off of the analgesia I've had to take for the last few years.

Has anyone else had this denervation done? The woman in the next bed to me was having it done but had to stop after 2 nerves as it was too painful to continue 😩

Thanks for reading

J x

11 Replies

  • Hi coffee, I'm due to have this procedure done later this month at L3/4 and L4/5 but recently my bum has gone into crisis and I can't walk without great pain. I'm seeing the consultant for review on Tuesday so maybe he will want to include L5 as this seems a likely culprit. He said last time it's tricky to target the nerves accurately so doesn't like to do too many at the same time but there is both local anaesthetic and some light sedation so I don't know why the other lady you mentioned experienced such pain... :(

  • Thanks for reply. It was odd that she said she was too sore to carry on. The consultant wasn't going to do the procedure in the first place as the nerve block injections hadn't been successful but she insisted. My understanding of the blocks are that you feel the effects almost instantly, like numbing a tooth before a filling. That's what I experienced.

    Anyway, I hope that you get some relief soon. This is enough to drive the strongest person round the bend 😩

    J x

  • When I first tried to have it done there was no sedation offered. Im a bit of a Pain coward but it was so bad I was starting to retch so we couldn't go on for fear of me throwing up. I couldn't have gone any further and we had only done two. I had to wait longer to try again because with the sedation they need extra monitoring equipment and staff. Or so I was told.

  • I've never had the nerves ablated before but I've had various different types of facet injections and the variation in doctors technique is surprising. The chap I'm with atm is as gentle as a lamb and effective in terms of result whereas the chap before was actually a sadist and not effective. My understanding is that the ablation requires sedation whereas facet injections don't. 👍🏼

  • I've never had facet injections. I probably won't have sedation as I like to watch what they're doing...

  • My understanding is that the diagnostic injections are different to the denervation injections because with the latter they will actually be using another type of needle which is heated and 'burns' the nerves producing a longer lasting pain relief but it is more involved so sedation is required? I wasn't offered the choice of sedation. It is part of the treatment this time....

  • I think you're right. The local anaesthetic injecteted into the SI joint determines if that's where the pain is coming from so they know that the denervation "could" give relief. Nothing is guaranteed eh. I loved that few hours of total pain free bliss. I am quite willing to go through a slightly painful procedure to have longer relief. And I never thought I would ever say that. I hate procedures and investigations, put everything down to my thyroid and hope it goes away on its own... 😂😂

  • I had my last sacrioilic joint steroid injections six months ago. They have completed worn off but NHS Highland only repeat after 12 months. I'm sitting here in huge amounts of pain ready to reach for the Oramorph and not willing to wait another Six months. I've got a consultation for private treatment next week. Hopefully the injections shortly after. Its beyond belief I can't get the treatment I need without spending this hugs amount of money I can't afford but I'm lucky in that I can scrape it together . it helps that I can't go on holiday or indeed on any trips now. Saves a bit . Huh !

    The steroid injections are sore but not unbearable but I'll be interested to see if a different doctor is any better at the actual process. With me its a factory conveyor belt system it feels.


  • I didn't get hydrocortisone into my sacroiliac joint, just lidocaine. I've had hydrocortisone injections in my elbow and the pain I had after them was horrific. But they worked. Once I turned 40, it all started to come undone a bit...👎🏻

  • I have a major phobia about injections in my back after 3 lumbar punctures. I was absolutely terrified getting the nerve blocks. The consultant told me to relax as he couldn't get the needles to penetrate my muscles. I was trying to relax. The staff were great though.

  • Ask for sedation. I couldn't manage it without but with the sedation I don't remember anything but I wasn't asleep. Don't know how that works.

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