SI joint pain causes and treatment

The causes of SI (sacroiliac) joint pain vary, as does its treatment. There are two sacroiliac joints in the back, which are located on either side of the lower spine just above the pelvis. Their main responsibility is to bear the weight of the upper body while walking and standing, and to transfer that weight to the legs. SI joint discomfort – which may feel like a dull or sharp pain in the buttocks, thighs, groin or lower back – can be experienced when one or both of these joints becomes inflamed.

Causes of SI joint pain

As previously mentioned, SI joint pain can be caused by a number of factors. Actions as simple as taking uneven or large strides while walking can irritate the joint, as can standing for prolonged periods of time or placing more weight on one leg than the other. SI joint pain may also be caused by:

  • Certain types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
  • High impact exercises like running and stair climbing
  • Traumatic injury, such as a fall, sudden impact or a car accident
  • Pregnancy, since sudden weight gain and changed gait can place added strain on the SI joints

SI Joint pain treatment

Many cases of SI joint pain can be managed or treated with conservative (nonsurgical) measures, including:

  • Medication, such as over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy to maximize range of motion and lower back strength
  • Electronic stimulation, which involves the application of gentle electrical currents around the injured area to reduce pain
  • Joint injections with corticosteroids to decrease inflammation

Individuals whose SI joint pain does not respond to conservative treatments may be considered candidates for surgery. Today, minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open back surgeries are available to patients who meet certain criteria. Laser Spine Institute specializes in such minimally invasive spinal procedures which can be used to address SI joint pain and other painful back conditions.

Contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a no-cost MRI review* and to learn if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.