If you've been told you have an SI joint problem, you're not alone. Approximately, 15 to 30 percent of chronic lower back pain patients attribute SI joint issues as the root of their back pain. Although SI joint issues cause pain, SI joint treatment helps to reduce, or even eliminate, the pain.
What is the Sacroiliac Joint?
The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is part of the pelvis. It's the connection between the sacrum and ilium bone of the pelvis. The sacrum is the lowest portion of the spine, located directly above the tailbone. It acts as a shock absorber and hinders impact forces from coming in contact with the spine. The parts in this joint only allow for a small amount of movement. Five ligaments make up this particular joint: anterior sacroiliac ligament, interosseous sacroiliac ligament, posterior sacroiliac ligament, sacrotuberous ligament, and sacrospinous ligament.
Problems in the SI Joint
The SI joint can become injured. It's also possible the joint will suffer from degeneration since the joint will change as a result of age. Arthritis may affect this particular joint as well.
Symptoms of SI Joint Problems
If you have problems in the SI joint, you might feel pain in buttocks, pelvis, lower back or legs. You might notice the pain is more prominent when you participate in activities like running or walking. Sleeping on your side can place pressure on the SI joint, so you might notice you have more pain when you sleep on your side.
In addition to lower back pain, you might experience pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in your lower extremities. Hip or groin pain is possible. Pain might arise when you go from a sitting to a standing position. Some people notice their legs feel unstable, and they may even fall or have their legs buckle. SI joint pain might disturb sleep or sitting patterns.
Treatment for SI Joint Pain
The first step of the SI joint treatment process consists of a doctor performing a physical examination, which has the ability to determine the cause of your SI joint pain symptoms. A doctor may use an MRI, CT-scan or x-ray to diagnose your problem. An injection tends to be the most reliable method to evaluate the root of your SI joint pain.
After a doctor determines the cause of your problem, you might have to undergo physical therapy, which consists of a professional guiding you through various exercises that stretch and strengthen the spine. Massage therapy or chiropractic care might be options as well. An oral medication or injection can help with your pain. If your symptoms don't improve, a minimally invasive surgery may be necessary such as implanting a piece to stabilize this portion of the back.