Sacroiliitis – (SI Joint Pain)

Sacroiliitis occurs as a result of inflammation in the joint of the pelvis where the lowest part of the spine (sacrum) and the iliac bone of the hip meet. These joints are called sacroiliac joints. These joints provide shock absorption for the spine.

Symptoms and Risks of SI Joint Pain

Risk Factors for SI Joint Pain:

  • History of infections
  • Pregnancy due to the loosening of the joints used in childbirth
  • Trauma – sports related, motor vehicle accidents, usually sudden impact

Symptoms include:

  • Pain, usually in the low back, leg (maybe in the front of the thigh), hip and/or buttock pain
  • Pain that is worse when sitting for a long periods of time or rolling over in bed
  • Stiffness in the low back and hips, especially when getting out of bed in the morning or after
  • Sitting for long periods of time

How is SI Joint Pain Diagnosed?

After an examination and a review of your past medical history your spine surgeon or his physician assistant will order x-rays and an MRI to determine exactly which level of your spine in affected. After diagnostic testing is completed your physician will determine your treatment plan.

Treatment Options for SI Joint Pain

Happy senior couple in love.Non-surgical treatment options for sacroiliitis include physical therapy, exercise, medication, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, and/or application of heat or cold compresses. Occasionally steroids are injected into the sacroiliac joint (SI joint) easing the pain and reducing the inflammation.

The steroid injections are done by Orlando Orthopaedic Center’s Pain Management Physicians. This is done in an outpatient surgical suite under fluoroscopy (specialized x-ray machine), which allows the steroid medication to be injected into the sacroiliac joint surrounding the nerves that are being affected. This may relieve the pain completely. If the pain is not relieved surgery may be indicated.

The majority of patients with sacroiliitis can be treated without surgery. If the patient is still having severe pain that is unresponsive to non-surgical options and makes everyday activities unbearable, surgery may be considered. A sacroiliac joint fusion is performed. This procedure fuses the SI joint to stop motion in the joint. To learn more about SI Joint fusion click here. The spine surgeon will make the decision on whether surgery will benefit the patient.

Who Should Consider Surgery?

Surgery should be considered for individuals who have failed conservative treatment with medications and injections, or those with symptoms that are so severe that they are starting to lose significant function and are at risk for permanent damage.

All risks and benefits of surgery should be considered before making a decision. The spine surgeon will discuss all available options and treatments.

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