Causes of sacroiliac (SI) joint pain include being overweight

One of the leading causes of SI joint pain — or pain in the sacroiliac joint — is having excessive body weight. That’s because the SI joint in the lower back helps to support the entire upper body and every extra pound of weight increases the stress and pressure placed upon it. As a result, those who are overweight and obese have a higher likelihood of developing this condition.

How does SI joint pain occur?

The SI joint is the structure where the sacrum and ilium meet in the pelvis. More specifically, the sacrum is a triangular-shaped bone at the end of the spine, and it rests within the pelvis at two points, one on the left and one on the right, called ilia. The SI joint is important because it supports the spine and connects the lower back to the pelvic bone.

While this joint is designed as a weight-bearing element, like the rest of the body, it is still prone to degeneration and inflammation. This can result in the following symptoms:

  • Chronic discomfort that feels like sciatic pain
  • Tingling and numbness that radiates into the groin or thigh
  • Heightened discomfort when climbing stairs or taking a big step
  • The inability to comfortably sit or lie on your side

Excessive body weight increases the strain placed on the body’s SI joint, as well as other locations, which can make a person more likely to develop joint inflammation later in life.

Treatment options

Often, when a patient is diagnosed with SI joint pain, the first step will be to pursue conservative treatment designed to relieve pain and reduce strain on the joint. If weight is determined to be a contributor, healthy diet and regular moderate exercise can be recommended to reduce weight. Additional treatments include pain medication, hot and cold compression, injections, posture improvement and physical therapy. There are surgical treatments for SI joint pain and they can become an option if weight management has been fully attempted and conservative treatments have been exhausted without an improvement in symptoms.

At Laser Spine Institute we specialize in a minimally invasive surgical procedure known as an SI joint fusion. This outpatient surgery utilizes state-of-the-art tools to fuse the sacrum and pelvis together using muscle-sparing techniques.

If you want to find out if you may be a candidate for this procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* from our dedicated team of experts.