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What is SI Joint Pain?
Pain in the Sacroiliac SI joint can extend into the lower back, buttocks, groin, and leg, and may result from wear and tear or injury, particularly when the ligaments supporting the joint are stretched. This SI joint is instrumental in the transfer of weight between your upper body and legs. It also acts as a shock-absorber during motion. Damage to the SI joint is common and may be caused by too little movement (called hypomobility) or too much movement (hypermobility).
What are the symptoms of SI Joint Pain ?
Pain from sacroiliac joint disorders can be felt anywhere in the lower back, buttocks, or in the legs. Chronic SI joint pain can make it difficult to perform common daily tasks such as sitting, standing, and climbing stairs.
Common symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain include:
- Lower back pain
- Sensation in lower extremities: pain, numbness, tingling, weakness
- Pelvis/buttock pain
- Hip/groin pain
- Feeling of leg instability (buckling, giving way)
- Disturbed sleep patterns due to pain
- Disturbed sitting patterns (unable to sit for long periods, sitting on one side)
- Pain going from sitting to standing
Prior to having a surgical procedure to treat your Sacroiliac Joint Pain, conservative measures such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and steroid injections should be attempted. If these measures do not meaningfully relieve your pain, a North American Spine procedure may be in order.
What are the causes of SI Joint Pain?
As with other joints in the body, the SI joint can become damaged, can suffer from wear and tear, or the ligaments supporting the joint may be stretched or injured. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction and associated pain can be caused by a specific traumatic event (disruption) or can develop over time (degeneration).
Additional common Sacroiliac Joint Pain causes include:
- Previous lumbar surgery (e.g., lumbar fusion of the L3/L4, L4/L5, or L5/S1)
- Stresses to the SI joint due to leg length differences, joint replacement, or scoliosis
- Pregnancy – chronic lower back pain during pregnancy and/or after giving birth (Post-partum Pelvic Girdle Pain, frequently described as PGP or PPGP)
- Previous iliac crest bone graft (ICBG)
- Prior infection of the SI joint
What is the treatment like for SI Joint Pain?
Treatment and procedure options for Sacroiliac Joint Pain range from conservative options like injections to more intensive procedures like spinal fusions.
Conservative Options Conservative treatment options include nerve root blocks and steroid injections. These are designed to provide temporary relief (up to one year), and you may elect to have the procedure done multiple times. Other conservative strategies may include the placement of a spinal cord stimulator–or STIM–which is designed not to correct the underlying degeneration, but to lessen the pain the condition causes.
Decompression Decompression–may be used for cases in which the structural integrity of the vertebrae or spinal cord is not threatened. These procedures concentrate on freeing entrapped nerves, typically be enlarging the space through which nerves pass. Depending on the demands of the procedure and your unique physiology, a special surgical laser may be used.
Fusion/Stablization Fusion, also called stabilization, procedures may be used when the stability of the spine or vertebrae are compromised or threatened. In some of these cases, more than one harmful condition may exist. While these procedures are minimally invasive and enjoy a high success rate, some patients may be required to stay overnight for observation.
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