Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a common cause of low back pain. The two SI joints in the spine connect the bottom of the spine (sacrum) to the tops of the hip bones (ilia) on both sides of the body. By themselves, the SI joints don’t have a lot of movement. Their primary purpose is to support and stabilize the spine and distribute weight evenly across the pelvis during movement.
Inflammation, hypermobility (excessive mobility), or hypomobility (too little movement) of one of the SI joints leads to pain, stiffness, weakness and instability in the low back, buttock, hip, groin and thigh. Luckily, there are several treatment options available for SI joint pain. Keep reading to find out what they are.
An SI joint problem can be very difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic those of several common back conditions like a herniated disc or sciatica. Your doctor will perform multiple diagnostic tests to make an accurate diagnosis.
Once your doctor makes an accurate diagnosis, he or she will create a treatment plan to address your pain and symptoms.
Many cases of SI joint pain are successfully managed with non-surgical measures. The goals of treatment are to reduce pain and restore normal function in the joint. Depending on the cause of pain and dysfunction, conservative treatments can resolve symptoms completely within a few weeks or months. If pain is due to an underlying chronic condition (like osteoarthritis), the right treatment can help you manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Your physician-prescribed treatment plan will probably include a combination of the following:
You may need to try several different treatments, or a combination of treatments, before finding a plan that offers the most effective relief.
Surgery is necessary if the sacroiliac joint is causing significant pain that’s affecting your ability to perform daily activities. Before recommending surgery, your doctor will exhaust all avenues for non-surgical treatments. However, if several weeks or months of conservative measures aren’t effectively relieving your pain, your doctor will recommend a joint fusion surgery.
During the procedure, the ilium and sacrum are fused using implanted screws, rods and bone grafts. A successful fusion surgery eliminates painful movement at the joint level, relieves pain, and restores normal mobility in the low back and pelvis.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our board-certified surgeons use minimally invasive techniques to perform spine fusion surgery on an outpatient basis. Minimally invasive surgeries require smaller incisions, cause less muscle and tendon damage and lower the risk of post-op infections. We’ve found that because minimally invasive procedures cause less damage to the surrounding soft tissues, our patients experience less pain and less reliance on narcotic medications following surgery. The recovery time is faster and many of our patients are back to their normal activities within a few weeks.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our board-certified and fellowship-trained surgeons specialize in performing minimally invasive spine surgery to treat painful conditions like compressed nerves, slipped discs, SI joint dysfunction, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal deformities. Our Jacksonville, Florida, clinic also provides pain management and orthopedic care services.
If you’re ready to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love, call us or reach out online to schedule an appointment.