Sacroiliac Joint Care
Despite frequently being the cause of low back pain (in about 20-30% of cases), the sacroiliac joint is often overlooked, misunderstood, or ignored. Thankfully, we understand its importance. If we can distinguish sacroiliac joint-related issues from other spinal sources of pain and dysfunction, we can develop an effective treatment strategy and avoid unnecessary surgeries.
At Axis Spine, we employ several conservative measures to treat sacroiliac joint pain to accomplish these goals. When conservative treatment is not sufficient, we also offer minimally-invasive surgical sacroiliac joint stabilization for carefully selected patients.
A sacroiliac joint injection is an outpatient procedure used to treat low back and buttock pain.
Sacroiliac joints are the joints that connect your spine and your hip bone. These joints connect the bottom of the spine (the sacrum) to the outer part of the hip bone (the ilium). You have two sacroiliac joints, with one on each side of the sacrum.
Sacroiliac joints help control your hips and the area around them when you move. They help transfer forces from your lower body to your upper body. Each sacroiliac joint has several ligaments that help strengthen it.
You may feel pain if a sacroiliac joint becomes injured. The pain may be minor, like muscle tension, or more severe. Injuries can occur to the cartilage inside of the joint or the ligaments surrounding it.
Joint pain can occur in different areas depending on which joint is affected. Sacroiliac joint pain can take place from your lower back to your buttocks. If a joint is very inflamed, pain may extend down the leg as well.
X-rays and MRIs may not always be able to show if a sacroiliac joint is the cause of your pain. However, there are several other ways to tell. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and perform tests to give a more accurate diagnosis.
In a sacroiliac joint injection, a local anesthetic and corticosteroid are injected into one or both of your sacroiliac joints or in the ligaments surrounding them. The local anesthetic will effectively numb you temporarily, while the corticosteroid reduces any inflammation that may be contributing to your pain. A sacroiliac joint injection can be used for both diagnosis and treatment. If the injection immediately lessens your pain and helps you move better, it tells the doctor which joint is causing the pain.
Treatment for sacroiliac joint pain typically includes physical therapy, chiropractic care, sacroiliac joint injections. When these options fail, some patients may be candidates for sacroiliac joint fusions. A fusion is designed to provide stabilization and fusion for certain SI joint disorders. This is accomplished by inserting triangular shaped titanium implants across the sacroiliac joint to maximize post-surgical stability and weight bearing capacity. The procedure is done through a small incision (about 2-3 centimeters long) and takes about an hour. Multiple published studies on iFuse have documented procedure safety and effectiveness. Patients are discharged based on their progress and health status following the spine surgery. It’s important to follow a doctor’s advice about when to resume daily activities, bear weight on the site, and return to work.