Low Back Pain
Do you have SI Joint Pain?
The SI joint can be a significant cause of lower back pain. Clinical publications have identified the SI joint as a pain generator in 15-30% of chronic lower back pain patients.1-4 In addition, the SI joint is a pain generator in up to 43% of patients with continued or new onset lower back pain after a lumbar fusion.5
Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) Anatomy
The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is located in the pelvis; it links the iliac bones (pelvis) to the sacrum (lowest part of the spine above the tailbone). It is an essential component for energy transfer between the legs and the torso.
Like any other joint in the body, the SI joint can be injured and/or undergo degeneration. When this happens, people can feel pain in their buttock and sometimes in the lower back, hips and legs. This is especially true while lifting, running, walking or even lying on the involved side. It’s common for pain from the SI joint to feel like disc or lower back pain, or sometimes hip or groin pain. For this reason, SI joint disorders should always be considered in lower back, hip, and pelvic pain diagnosis.
Do you experience one or more of the symptoms listed below?
Lower back pain
Sensation of low extremity: pain, numbness, tingling, weakness
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
Making a Diagnosis
A variety of tests performed during physical examination may help reveal the SI joint as the cause of your symptoms. Sometimes, X-rays, CT-scan or MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of SI joint-related problems because they can rule out other common sources of pain—such as your lumbar spine or hip joints. It is also important to remember that other conditions (like a disc problem) can co-exist with SI joint disorders.
The most relied upon method to accurately determine whether the SI joint is the cause of your lower back pain symptoms is to inject the SI joint with a local anesthetic. This diagnostic injection will be performed under either X-ray or CT guidance to verify accurate placement of the needle in the SI joint. If your symptoms decrease by at least 50%, it can be concluded that the SI joint is either the source of or a major contributor to your lower back, hip, or pelvic pain. If the level of pain does not change after SI joint injection, it is less likely that the SI joint is the cause of your pain.
Once the SI joint is confirmed as the cause of your symptoms, treatment can begin. Some patients respond well to physical therapy, use of oral medications, or injection therapy. These treatments are often performed repetitively, and frequently symptom improvement using these therapies is temporary. If non-surgical treatment options have been tried and do not provide long-term relief, your surgeon may consider other options, including the minimally invasive iFuse procedure.