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SI Joint Pain


There is a sacroiliac (SI) joint located on each side of the lower spine where the spine connects to the pelvis. Each SI joint provides stability and helps absorb the impact of movements like walking. SI joint pain is felt in the lower back and buttocks, sometimes radiating to the pelvis or thighs, which can make it hard to diagnose since many other spinal conditions can cause pain in the same general area.

Sacroiliac joint pain usually only affects one side at a time, but it is possible to have it affect both sides. The pain can range from mild to severe depending on cause and extent of the damage to the joint. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can cause chronic pain and interfere with flexibility.

We understand the frustration of living with chronic pain and the impact it can have on your life. Back Pain Centers of America (BPC) offers patients a wide range of back pain treatment options so that you can get back to your active life. Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] today to learn how we can help.

Woman suffering from SI joint pain

SI Joint Pain Causes and Risk Factors

There are several possible SI joint pain causes including:

  • Injury – A fall or car accident can damage the SI joints and surrounding ligaments. Activities that place a lot of repetitive stress on your sacroiliac joint, such as running, can also cause SI joint pain.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – This is a type of spinal arthritis that causes the vertebrae to fuse together and the spine to stiffen. It can alter the shape of your spine and lead to a deformity. It is a common cause of SI joint pain.
  • Spondylosis – This natural deterioration of the spine happens as we age and can lead to bone spurs, herniated discs, and spinal narrowing.
  • Osteoarthritis – This type of degenerative arthritis can affect any joint in your body and is most common on weight-bearing joints.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnancy hormones cause the SI joints to stretch in preparation for childbirth. Some women experience low back and pelvic pain from this stretching. Extra body weight during pregnancy and changes to a woman’s walk can also place extra stress on the sacroiliac joint.
  • Spinal deformities – Spinal deformities that cause one leg to be shorter than the other or place extra stress on the lower back and hips can cause sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

SI Joint Pain Symptoms

The most common SI joint pain symptoms are low back pain and hip pain. Symptoms of SI joint pain can also extend to the buttocks, pelvis, groin, and thighs. The pain can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, and even weakness in the leg.

SI joint pain symptoms are often worse when:

  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Climbing stairs
  • Walking
  • Sleeping

Stiffness after rest is also common in sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

sacroilliac joint

SI Joint Pain Treatment Options

Many people can get relief of SI joint pain symptoms by using a combination of non-invasive treatments. Conservative treatment for SI joint pain includes:

  • Rest – Staying off your feet for a couple of days to limit the amount of stress on your sacroiliac joint may help relieve some of your pain, especially acute pain often experienced in the first couple of days. Resting for too long can worsen stiffness and pain, so a gradual return to exercise is recommended after 2 days of rest.
  • Pain medication – Oral anti-inflammatory medications can offer relief of SI joint pain and inflammation. Applying topical anti-inflammatory creams and ointments may also provide some relief of symptoms.
  • Heat and cold packs – Applying ice or heat can help reduce swelling and loosen stiffness.
  • Bracing – Wearing a supportive brace can help ease SI joint pain that is caused by the SI joint being loose (hypermobile).
  • Physical therapy – Strengthening the muscles around the sacroiliac joint can help you move better and improve flexibility. Gentle, low impact exercise is best when you’re experiencing any joint pain.
  • Steroid injections – A corticosteroid combined with a numbing agent can be injected into the joint for temporary relief of inflammation and pain.

When conservative SI joint pain treatment fails to resolve your symptoms, surgery may be your best option. Minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery is an outpatient procedure that is performed through a tiny incision. The technique doesn’t disrupt surrounding tissues, which allows for a much faster recovery than invasive open surgery. SI joint fusion stabilizes the joint and offers relief from SI joint pain and the other symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

If you’re tired of trying different treatments that don’t offer the relief you deserve, call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] today to see if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures. Relief is just a phone call away.

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