The Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) and Back Pain
It’s estimated that approximately eight percent (8%) of all Americans will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. It is suggested to be the second most common cause of physical disability, Arthritis being the first. As medical technologies advance, Doctors are learning even more in depth potential causes, and in turn treatments, for low back pain. One potential cause is the sacroiliac joint, otherwise known as the SI joint. The sacroiliac joint is located in the pelvis and links the pelvic bone to the sacrum. This joint can be injured or deteriorate over time causing low back, leg, pelvic, or buttock pain.
Function and Causes
A properly functioning sacroiliac joint will provide stability for the pelvis and bear the load of the upper body. SI joint dysfunction can occur as a result of childbirth, trauma, degeneration, or other conditions.
Did you know the pain however, may not be actually coming from in the sacroiliac joint itself but instead, within the soft tissues that surround the joint or other areas of the body? This is called radiating pain and can typically be treated with conservative approaches such as physical therapy, soft tissue message or mobilization, and acupuncture.
Some people see significant improvement with these conservative treatment methods when specialized to their individual low back pain needs. If previous conservative approaches do not show significant improvement, some may be advised to try therapeutic injections.
Surgically, typically used as a last option, an Sacroiliac Joint Fusion can be considered to alleviate chronic pain. During this fusion procedure, a small incision is made along the side of the buttock. Titanium implants are then be placed across the joint. The whole procedure takes about an hour, and the healing time with this minimally invasive procedure is significantly less than that of an open type of spine surgery. An Sacroiliac Joint fusion may be appropriate for patients who have been diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction and who have not responded to less invasive therapies.
Questioning your low back pain? Give us a call at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group to see what the best treatment option is for you. Our spine physicians are eager to help – Dr. James Bee, Dr. Robert Harper, Dr. Roger Sung, and Dr. Paul Stanton. 719-632-7669