Lateral Branch Blocks

In order to diagnose sacroiliac joint pain, it is possible to temporarily block with local anaesthetic the nerves responsible for sacroiliac joint sensation ( ie. the lateral branches of the sacral posterior primary rami S1 to S4).

Lateral Branch Blocks are performed under x-ray guidance in our day procedure facility with an anaesthetist providing light sedation.  A small needle is used to instill local anaesthetic under the skin covering the sacrum (tailbone) where the lateral branch nerves are located.

You may be asked to keep a “pain diary” record of your response to the injections for several hours to compare to your usual level of pain.

If your pain is substantially improved during the period of local anaesthetic action, it is reasonable to deduce that the sacroiliac joint is its site of origin.  Once the diagnosis is established, your doctor will consider longer-lasting treatments for the relief of sacroiliac joint pain (see radiofrequency denervation treatments and platelet rich plasma therapy).

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Northern Pain Centre can facilitate you obtaining a second opinion. Please discuss this with us.