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What You Need to Know About Sacroiliac Joint Pain

If you experience back pain, hip pain, or pain in the legs and buttocks, it may signal an issue with your sacroiliac joint. You don’t have to live with the pain; proven treatment techniques are available to help you regain mobility.

Does your sacroiliac pain worsen when you walk up and down stairs or stand for long periods? That could signal sacroiliac joint dysfunction. However, this is a treatable condition, and we have both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. Learn more about the causes and treatments of this potentially debilitating condition.

What Is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

The SI joints connect the spine to the hips. They lie between the iliac (hip) bones and the sacrum (base of the spine). These joints absorb impact when you lift objects or walk. If you want to find them on your own body, from a rear position, they are located where you see two dimples below your waist.

Ligaments and muscles support SI joints, and you typically have just enough flexibility for normal body motion. With age, bones and ligaments suffer from stiffness and chronic pain caused by conditions such as arthritis. Additionally, the cartilage between the bones starts to experience wear. Sometimes, the bones rub together and cause pain or functional issues. Due to the free nerve endings in the joint, you may experience chronic pain due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction and related conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Some people experience mild to moderate SI joint pain while others may have excruciating symptoms. The more severe the pain, the more important it is to consult with a medical professional. Do you have sacroiliac joint dysfunction? Look for the following signs:

  • Lower back pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Pelvis/buttock pain
  • Hip/groin pain
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Disturbed sitting patterns
  • Tingling
  • Feeling of leg instability (buckling, giving way)
  • Pain when standing

What Can Trigger Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

If you feel pain in the lower back and buttocks, you might have SI joint dysfunction. The following conditions aggravate chronic pain in this region:

  • Prolonged standing
  • Stair climbing
  • Running
  • Uneven weight distribution between your legs
  • Taking large strides

SI joint dysfunction can be temporary or chronic. For example, many pregnant women have sacroiliac pain throughout the second and third trimesters. In addition, if you have suffered a traumatic injury or joint infection, that can also trigger sacroiliac pain. Common triggers of SI joint pain include the following:

  • Traumatic injury: A motor vehicle accident, sports injury, or fall can cause damage to the sacroiliac joints.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis — spine arthritis — can also cause the pain associated with sacroiliac joints.
  • Prior lumbar fusion: Prior fusion can result in SI joint pain.
  • Pregnancy: To prepare for childbirth, the sacroiliac joints stretch and loosen. The altered gait and weight of the pregnant mother can cause stress, wear, and pain.
  • Infection: Although it’s rare, the SI joint sometimes becomes infected.

Sometimes, chronic sacroiliac pain can also cause insomnia and depression.

Treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

It’s important to understand the best way to treat SI pain at home. Don’t begin any DIY treatment without consulting your physician or the surgeon at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. The doctor may recommend the following treatment to help alleviate pain associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction:

  • Ice packs applied for 15-20 minutes can reduce inflammation in the area.
  • Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medications or prescribe other medications to help you remain comfortable.
  • If your doctor discovers a loose SI joint, they may provide a belt or brace to stabilize your spine.
  • In some cases, the doctor may recommend aquatic or low-impact aerobic exercises to stretch the muscles without straining them.
  • Sacroiliac injections of steroids or lidocaine may alleviate sacroiliac pain.
  • In certain cases, you may need sacroiliac joint fusion. SI fusion is a minimally invasive procedure requiring one to two incisions on either side of the spine. A posterior approach prevents as much muscle damage as possible. During the surgery, the surgeon implants a synthetic bone matrix and uses threaded screws to fuse the bones.

Consult with Dr. Lewis and Alleviate Your SI Joint Pain

Dr. Adam I. Lewis has performed sacroiliac joint fusion thousands of times at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic in Jackson, MS, and elsewhere across the country. He’s a respected surgeon and has taught life-changing, lifesaving procedures that alleviate pain, promote rapid recovery, and improve mobility, giving patients a higher quality of life.

To find out more about SI joint pain, call Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic at (601) 366-1011, or contact us online. We’ll find a solution that works for you.