FAQ’s on Sacroiliac Joint Pain
What is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
The sacroiliac (SI) joint is located where the bottom portion of the spine joins to the pelvic bones. The SI joint provides support to the entire torso, holding the weight of the body during movement. While this joint has a reduced range of movement, arthritic inflammation may still occur here in addition to injuries that may result in pain.
What are the causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
- Repeated stress injury
- Spondylitis (inflammation in the joint)
- Arthritic damage
- Dysfunction of the joint during pregnancy
- Idiopathic reasons (a cause cannot be found)
What are the symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
Common symptoms of SI joint complications include pain during movement or pain in the lower back, with the SI joint producing nearly 25% of all cases of lower back pain. Pain may also be felt in the groin or thighs. Patients with pain due to arthritic causes may have stiffness in the pelvis.
How is Sacroiliac Joint Pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis is achieved primarily with an X-ray of the joint, with an MRI or CT scan uses to examine for inflamed tissue. Patients may also receive a diagnostic sacroiliac injection, which functions to numb the joint. If relief is obtained, it is likely that the SI joint was the source of pain.
What are the treatment options for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
Acute SI joint paint with mild to moderate symptoms may react well to conservative methods of treatment. These include:
Rest: Resting the joint can help to reduce irritation, which can reduce pain that is arising from overuse injuries or inflammation. By reducing the activity level the muscles and tendons surrounding the joint are able to rest and return to their natural state instead of a pain-causing swollen state. Rest can also help to reduce the chance of muscular injury.
Medication: Patients may take medication to assist with their pain in the form of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs (for patients who are having pain due to one or more causes of SI joint inflammation). Patients who do not obtain the desired levels of relief with over-the-counter medication may have stronger medications prescribed to them by our physicians following diagnosis.
Physical Therapy: Therapy for the SI joint is focused around both resting the joint and strengthening it to better be able to support the body. With the application of ice packs to help reduce swelling, and guided exercise to strengthen the joint, physical therapy is able to help many patients obtain relief without the need for invasive intervention measures.
Patients who do not obtain their desired level of relief, or who have a cause that can’t be treated with conservative methods, may require a surgical procedure to rid them of pain (A systematic evaluation of the therapeutic effectiveness of sacroiliac joint interventions, 2012).
Sacroiliac Joint Injection: an SI joint injection seeks to the numb the problematic area to provide patients pain relief. Patients who have pain due to inflammation in the SI joint may also receive a supplement steroidal injection to help combat inflammation (Surgical versus injection treatment for injection-confirmed chronic sacroiliac joint pain, 2012). Patients who obtain therapeutic relief with an SI joint injection might be able to obtain a longer duration of relief with a radiofrequency ablation or denervation procedure.
Radiofrequency Denervation: The carefully controlled destruction of a nerve, denervation seeks to provide extended relief by removing the problematic nerve as a source of pain. Patients were able to obtain relief lasting up to 2 years with denervation (Cooled radiofrequency denervation for treatment of sacroiliac joint pain, 2013).
Sacroiliac Joint Fusion: Patients who have chronic pain due to one or more complications of the SI joint can potentially obtain permanent relief with an SI joint fusion. Performed as minimally invasive procedure, 90% of patients were able to obtain relief via fusion (Safety and 6-month effectiveness of minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion, 2013).