A patient experiencing pain associated with the sacroiliac joint may elect to undergo an injection procedure. Injection therapies are increasingly more popular as a treatment for certain types of joint pain. Two such procedures are prolotherapy and sacroiliac joint injections. No, they are not the same thing.
The confusion surrounding these two procedures is often due to the fact that pain clinics can offer both. The fact that they are both injection therapies only add to the confusion. Regardless, they are two separate therapies designed to accomplish different goals.
In order to understand how they differ, we turn to the doctors at Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX. Prolotherapy and sacroiliac joint injections are offered at the clinic.
Prolotherapy is considered a regenerative medicine procedure in that its primary goal is to encourage natural healing. A typical prolotherapy treatment involves an injection directly into the affected soft tissue. The injection combines a mild anesthesia along with substances designed to encourage inflammation.
The anesthetic offers temporary pain relief. As for the rest of the medicine, its goal of promoting inflammation ultimately leads to triggering the healing response. Believe it or not, inflammation is actually a biological reaction that tells the body to respond to an injury. Inflammation is often a good thing despite the fact that we try so often to reduce it.
Sacroiliac Joint Injections
Lone Star doctors say that sacroiliac joint injections are designed to do just the opposite. Rather than encouraging inflammation in order to promote a healing response, the injections are designed to reduce inflammation and keep it at bay for as long as possible. The question is this: why offer a procedure with a competing goal?
In an acute situation, encouraging inflammation could be the best way to lead to permanent healing. But in a chronic situation, like arthritis in the sacroiliac joint, only so much healing can take place. It may not be possible for the body to replace the lost tissue typical of arthritis. So the next best thing is to keep inflammation down.
Sacroiliac joint injections are typically a combination of anti-inflammatory medication and an anesthetic. The anesthetic goes right to work to begin relieving pain. Meanwhile, that anti-inflammatory medication, which is usually a steroid, gradually reduces inflammation. A successful treatment can effectively relieve pain for several months.
Consulting With Your Doctor
Sacroiliac joint injury and disease can be quite uncomfortable. Issues with the sacroiliac joint can cause pain in the pelvis, hips, and back. In some cases, pain can radiate quite a distance from the affected joint. If you are experiencing such pain, consult with your doctor about possible causes and treatments.
Your primary care physician is likely to refer you to a pain specialist if your pain is chronic. Assuming you are diagnosed with sacroiliac joint injury or disease, your appointment with the pain specialist is the time to start discussing prolotherapy and sacroiliac joint injections. Either one could represent your best viable option for long term pain relief.
Lone Star doctors recommend keeping an open mind. Pain medicine is an advanced specialty these days, and it offers all sorts of treatments that cannot be found at a primary care office. It could be that neither prolotherapy nor sacroiliac joint injections are your best option. There could be something else your pain specialist recommends.
At least know that prolotherapy and sacroiliac joint injections are not the same thing. They are two distinct treatments with quite different goals. If either one helps relieve your sacroiliac joint pain, that’s great. You may discover that an occasional injection is a far better option than long-term medication.