The sacroiliac (SI) joint serves a key function in connecting the base of the spine to the pelvis. Named because it connects the base of the spine, or sacrum, to the broad upper bones in the upper pelvis, or ilium, the SI joint withstands a tremendous amount of stress as we go through our daily movements. Because of this, a large number of people experience SI joint pain regularly.
If you’re looking for SI pain relief the good news is there are a large variety of effective treatment options. By learning more about this condition and the therapies that offer relief, we hope you can take a proactive role in your treatment to achieve the quality of life you deserve. We welcome you to get in touch with our dedicated team at any time with questions as you read over the following information. The BEST Health System is here to help.
SI Joint Pain Causes And Symptoms
SI joint pain is caused by two main factors – the natural aging process and strenuous activity. The SI joint plays an essential role in transferring energy between the upper and lower body to enable movement. High-stress activities such as running and lifting, in particular, can put excess strain on the joints, causing pain and dysfunction that requires rest to heal.
The SI joint is also subjected to degeneration that affects other joints and soft tissue throughout the body. As we all age, our bodies lose water content, making connective tissue and protective cartilage more brittle and stiff. This leads to deterioration and increased friction between the bones which causes inflammation and resulting symptoms of aches, pain, and stiffness.
The most commonly reported symptoms for people who develop SI joint pain include:
- Sharp pain in the pelvis and hips
- Shooting pains in the hips and legs
- Tingling and numbness in the extremities
- Stiffness and popping sensations in the lower back and pelvis
- Backache in some patients
It is important to receive a thorough diagnosis for any of these symptoms, as SI joint pain is often misdiagnosed as a lumbar (lower) spine condition due to the overlap in symptoms. In addition to reviewing medical history, discussing symptoms, and ordering diagnostic imagery, physicians can perform specialized movement tests to diagnose SI joint pain.
Basic SI Pain Relief Options
Whether caused by aging or injury, doctors will typically treat SI joint pain with an initial course of conservative options. These are designed to relieve symptoms and improve function while the overall progress of the condition is monitored. Common options include:
- Over the counter medications
- Alternating hot and cold compression
- Activity modification
Advanced Conservative Therapies Include SI Joint Injection And Physical Therapy
If SI joint pain is more severe and/or persists for weeks or longer, options such as physical therapy and SI joint injections may be attempted. Physical therapy helps to strengthen key supporting muscles and increase range of motion through techniques such as therapeutic exercise and manual therapy.
SI joint injections of a corticosteroid and pain-relieving agent directly into the painful area can help relieve pain and inflammation for an intermediate period to allow patients to engage in normal activities. This form of treatment is often used in conjunction with physical therapy to help overcome discomfort to reach important functional goals.
When To Consider Surgical Options, Including SI Joint Fusion
Surgery to treat SI joint pain can become an option if conservative options have been thoroughly exhausted. One form of treatment is an SI joint fusion which helps to stabilize the region and reduce painful and dysfunctional movement. Thanks to advances in minimally invasive techniques, it is now possible to perform this procedure on an outpatient basis.
If you’re suffering from SI joint pain and are seeking lasting relief, contact the team at BEST Health System today. Our caring team of multidisciplinary experts will work closely with you to create a personalized SI joint pain relief plan that fits your needs and lifestyle. From SI joint injections and physical therapy to outpatient minimally invasive surgery, we want to help you on your journey to relief.