What is SI Joint Pain?

More than 22.5 percent of back pain sufferers’ discomfort is from the SI joint, which is located between the sacrum and ilium. Pain that emanates from the SI joint can occur for many different reasons — some are age related, while others are caused by injury or a previous lumbar fusion. Your SI joint may be causing you pain if you’ve experienced one of these events or several of these symptoms:

Causes:

  • Previous lumbar fusion
  • Fall, misstep or awkward twisting or lifting
  • Uneven pelvis or legs, resulting in one leg being shorter than the other
  • Past pregnancy
  • Forms of arthritis such as degenerative sacroiliitis

Symptoms:

  • Dull ache in the low back that feels like sciatica
  • Pain that radiates to the groin or thigh
  • Inability to sit or lie on the afflicted side
  • Increased pain when climbing stairs or hills

If you notice that you have some of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your physician. They will be able to perform some simple tests to determine if the pain you are experiencing is from the SI joint. If the pain is not resolved with several months of conservative care, an SI joint fusion may be recommended.

What is an SI Joint fusion?

An SI joint fusion is a minimally invasive procedure, where the sacrum and the pelvis are joined. Laser Spine Institute surgeons will perform the procedure through a small incision with the guidance of a fluoroscope. Because there is typically limited mobility in the SI joint without the procedure, most patients will not lose any range of motion.

When is it time for surgery?

Your physician will more than likely suggest you undergo several months of conservative treatment including chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, SI joint injections or anti-inflammatory injections. If after six months the pain has not lessened even after SI joint injections, your physician may suggest a fusion. If surgery is encouraged, make sure you research all of your options for the procedure.