However, I wanted to address a larger question I had when I first looked into them, and why I, personally, decided not to proceed.
And again– this blog is based mainly on my own experience as a patient, and the opinions various medical professionals gave me at the time. I can’t promise that what turned out to be true for me will be true for you. However, my goal is to share the answers that I found, to save you the time I spent looking for them.
So why, ultimately, did I decide not to pursue lidocaine or cortisone injections?
A few reasons:
I was confident that I had a problem with SI joint dysfunction, so I didn’t feel I needed a diagnostic lidocaine injection.
I had previously had a bad reaction to a cortisone injection in my knee, and didn’t want to risk the same thing happening again.
However, there’s another overarching reason: neither I, nor the orthopedist I saw, were confident the injections would really help.
To answer this question, we need to first remember that the hip bone and the sacrum are meant to fit together in a certain way. That’s why the surface of one has a bump where the other will have a groove. It’s sort of like a lock and key.
When the joint is out of alignment, these bumps and grooves don’t line up. Instead, you can end up with a bump on a bump, which can create a lot of pain. It also affects the mechanics of how you walk– if your hip bone is stuck in a weird position, it also means your hip socket and therefore your leg bone are stuck in a weird position.
So, for me, when my joints would get stuck, I’d have a lot of pain and it would be hard to walk.
And then, when my chiropractor would put the joint in place– boom! All the pain would be gone.
So, the question that I asked my orthopedist at the time was: If the pain I feel is from the joint being misaligned, and the pain goes away immediately when my joint is put into place… will an injection that’s meant to reduce inflammation really help me?
His answer was no. Cortisone wouldn’t work to cancel out that type of pain “bump on bump” pain, because it wasn’t primarily being caused by inflammation. It was caused by the two bones being misaligned, which, biologically speaking… should cause pain. It wasn’t a case of chronic inflammation that had been going on for weeks, which is what cortisone is used to treat.
Because I could get immediate pain relief when my chiropractor adjusted the joint, my orthopedist and I concluded that I probably didn’t have much lingering inflammation in the area– not that was causing pain, anyway– because when my joints were in place I was pretty much pain-free. So trying to target that type of pain with an injection just didn’t seem to make sense.
However, I do know people who say they’ve found cortisone injections in the SI joints to be helpful.
As I always say, everyone is different. I do think there is a big range, from person to person, in terms of what type of dysfunction they actually have, and how much inflammation is present. (Check out my post on the four types of SI joint dysfunction for more on this!).
If you have significant inflammation or degeneration, it would stand to reason that cortisone might help you.
And on the other hand, if you and your doctor are having trouble telling where, exactly, your pain is coming from, a lidocaine injection might make complete and total sense.
But here, I’ve explained to the reasons why I, personally, chose not to receive these injections.
My goal on this blog is to provide you with all the information to help you make the best decision for you. I hope this helps!