Aging is a primary cause of sacroiliac (SI) joint pain

Sacroiliac, or SI, joint pain has several underlying causes — but aging is probably the most significant. The largest axial joint in the body, the SI joint allows for a range motion such as gliding, tiling and rotating between the spine and the pelvis. Everyday stress and age-related dehydration causes the joint to deteriorate over time, making it less capable of normal movement. This can lead to inflammation that causes pain both locally and in the lower body, which can have a severe effect on mobility.

If you are suffering from symptoms you believe may be related to SI joint pain, or you have been recently diagnosed with this condition, educating yourself is an important step in the treatment journey. The following information can help you better understand the changes the SI joint goes through with age and the full range of treatments available if you are experiencing symptoms.

Age-related changes to sacroiliac surfaces

During a person’s lifetime, a number of age-related changes can occur to the SI joint. For instance:

  • During adolescence, the surface of the sacroiliac joint can start to become duller and rougher. In some cases, fibrous plaques may develop. However, these changes generally do not cause any complications this early in life.
  • During a person’s 30s and 40s, a number of surface abnormalities may develop. For instance, small crevices may form, and cells found in cartilage may start to clump together. Mild to moderate pain may occur as a result.
  • During a person’s 60s, motions involving the SI joint — such as bending over or twisting from side to side — become restricted. SI pain may develop or get worse.
  • During a person’s 80s, additional deterioration, such as erosions and the formation of plaque on the surface of the SI joint are extremely common, leading to lower back pain and other symptoms.

Managing age-related SI joint pain

Many patients are able to manage their SI joint pain with conservative methods, such as medication and physical therapy, but other patients require more advanced therapies for pain that gets progressively worse as they continue to age. Doctors and patients alike view surgery as a last-resort treatment for SI joint pain because of the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine procedures performed in a hospital.

Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery^ with our minimally invasive spine surgery. For SI joint pain we offer a procedure called an SI joint fusion that is performed on an outpatient basis using a small, muscle-sparing incision.

To learn more, reach out to our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants for a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure at Laser Spine Institute.