Approximately 25% of cases of low back pain are caused by sacroiliac (SI) joint pain and dysfunction. The SI joints are located deep in the body and attach the spine to the hips. When the joints become inflamed, have excessive movement, or have too little movement, back pain and other symptoms occur.
Back pain is a leading disability in the United States and a common reason for missed work, missed school and doctor’s appointments. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms of SI joint pain and dysfunction.
You have two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of the body. The SI joints connect the sacrum (the bone at the bottom of the spine) to the ilium (one of three hip bones). They absorb shock during movement, support and stabilize the spine, and distribute weight evenly across the pelvis.
Healthy SI joints are supported by a web of ligaments and muscles and move very little. Traumatic injuries, repetitive stress, arthritis, pregnancy, hip or spine surgery, and abnormal body mechanics can cause the supporting ligaments to become too loose, too tight or inflamed, resulting in abnormal joint movement, pain and dysfunction.
SI joint pain typically only affects one side of the body. The following symptoms are common.
Diagnosing SI joint problems can be challenging because the symptoms mimic those of several back conditions. Your doctor will take a medical history, conduct a physical exam, and ask you to perform certain exercises that indicate a SI joint problem. He or she will also take imaging studies to rule out other possible causes of pain.
Additionally, your doctor may administer a diagnostic injection. He or she will inject an anesthetic and corticosteroid solution into the affected joint. If you experience pain relief, that’s a good indicator the SI joint is the problem.
Many cases of SI joint pain resolve with non-surgical care. Taking a few days to rest, ice and heat the affected joint can help relieve pain and symptoms. Additionally, your doctor might prescribe:
If non-surgical treatments aren’t providing effective relief, you may be a candidate for surgery.
Surgery is the final treatment option for chronic SI joint pain that doesn’t respond to conservative treatments. A fusion surgery is the standard choice for SI joint dysfunction. During the procedure, the ilium and sacrum bones are fused together, eliminating painful movement at the joint. The goal of surgery is to reduce pain and stabilize the low back and pelvis.
Integrity Spine and Orthopedics performs minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery in our outpatient ambulatory surgery center (ASC). Minimally invasive spine procedures require smaller incisions, cause less soft tissue damage, and lead to less post-op pain. After surgery, our patients can return home the same day. Using less invasive techniques facilitates faster rehabilitation and recovery, and many of our patients return to work and their normal activities within a few weeks after the procedure.
Don’t let pain disrupt your life for too long. Whether you’re suffering from an acute injury or chronic pain, Integrity Spine and Orthopedics has the orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine, and minimally invasive surgery services to help you to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love.
We have a convenient clinic located in Jacksonville, FL. Please call us or fill out a form to request your first appointment.