The sacrum (or sacral region) consists of five fused vertebrae near the bottom of the spine. Because the sacral vertebrae are fused, the region looks like a triangular, bony plate between the pelvic bones and is generally wider and shorter in women than in men.

The sacrum and related conditions

As the back wall of the pelvic girdle, the sacrum is connected to the hips by the sacroiliac, or SI, joints. These joints can become inflamed due to sacral fracturing or from a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis. This condition, known as SI joint pain, can cause a dull local ache or sharper radiating pain to the following areas:

  • Legs
  • Bowel
  • Bladder
  • Reproductive organs

Another condition related to the sacrum — and sometimes mistaken for SI joint pain — is sciatica, or compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica occurs in the sacrum because a portion of the sciatic nerve exits the spinal cord from the upper sacral vertebrae. A pinched sciatic nerve resulting from a herniated disc or bulging disc in the intersection of the sacral region and the lumbar spine could cause pain, tingling or numbness in either leg, as well as chronic lower back pain.

Treating pain related to the sacrum

It is critical to get an exact diagnosis from your primary doctor or spine specialist if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. While basic conservative treatment — including physical therapy and pain medication — for many spine issues use the same methods, getting effective results requires targeting the correct source of symptoms.

If pain persists after weeks or months of surgical treatment, your physician may present surgery as an option. Many patients see surgery as a last-resort option due to the large incision, hospital stay and long — often painful — rehabilitation that comes with traditional open back surgery.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery which offers an alternative to the drawbacks that come with traditional procedures. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute are able to use state-of-the-art techniques to access the spine with a smaller muscle-sparing incision which leads to a shorter recovery time for our patients.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review* to see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.