According to researchers, SI Joint pain is an underappreciated source of low back pain that affects between 15 and 30 percent of people with chronic pain. Some people who experience back pain can even be unaware that the pain is stemming from the SI Joints. So, what is the SI joint and how is it causing back pain?
What is the SI Joint?
The Sacroiliac Joints, or SI Joints, are two joints that connect the hip bones to the sacrum (the bone between the lumbar spine and tailbone). The SI joints have little motion, their main function being to absorb shock between the upper and lower body and helping to bend forward and backward.
The two joints are reinforced with ligaments that extend across the joints in the back of the pelvis and provide support, limits movements, and assist in shock absorption. Along with these ligaments, the gluteus maximus and the piriformis muscles also support the functions of the Sacroiliac Joint.
How do these joints cause pain?
Over time these joints, like any joint, can begin to lose its natural elasticity due to normal wear. As this natural barrier between the ilium and sacrum wears, the bones begin to rub together causing pain. There are also other reasons why the SI Joints can cause back pain. For example, consistent pressure to the joints from jogging or running can cause the SI joints to become inflamed and create pain in the lower back.
Pregnancy can also cause pain that begin in the SI joint that occur when the body releases hormones that cause the joints to loosen and move more. Other causes may include a hard fall, Arthritis, or damaged ligaments. SI joint pain can even extend from your lower back to your butt, thighs, and lower legs.
How is SI Joint pain treated?
There are multiple treatment options that are available for SI joint pain once it has been determined that it is the source of your pain. Some treatments include:
- Nonsurgical treatments. These types of treatments include physical therapy, stretching, anti-inflammatory medications, bracing, or chiropractic manipulation. These methods are typically used for pain that isn’t severe.
- Joint injections. Joint injections are a minimally invasive method that involves injecting corticosteroid and a numbing agent into the joint to temporarily relieve pain by reducing swelling and inflammation.
- Joint fusion. Sacroiliac joint fusion is a technique that fuses the diseased joint. This eliminates the micro motion between the ilium and sacrum. There two ways to do this treatment; lateral and posterior approaches.
- Stem cell therapy. Every day your body sends out specialized cells called Mesenchymal stem cells that are specifically designed to develop into any specific tissue. The type of tissue the Mesenchymal stem cells develop into is determined by the signals received from the surrounding area of the cell. Because of injury, or due to the natural aging process, sometimes the degeneration process can exceed the natural regeneration process of the body. When this occurs these Mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in high concentration in the bone marrow, can be harvested and injected into the affected joint. The introduction of this high concentration of regenerative cells accelerate natural healing of the body and can sometimes help to repair tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and form new bone.
How can I avoid back pain from the SI Joint?
One of the best ways to avoid back pain from the SI Joint is to try and take preventative measures. Some steps you can take include:
- Manage stress
- Regularly exercise
- Regularly stretch
- Maintain good posture
- Use proper lifting techniques
- Maintain a healthy, nutritious diet
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid long periods of sitting
It is also important to always seek treatment. If you are unsure of the origins of your pain and cannot manage it on your own, talk to your doctor about your treatment options right away.
At Advanced Orthopedics, our goal is to help you feel better and heal faster. We embrace a compassionate, patient-first approach to orthopedic care and pain. This combined with extensive experience, innovative technology, and advanced treatments allow us to provide you with the most comprehensive treatment plan.
Our surgeons are trained in the most advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques and most procedures are successfully performed in an outpatient setting.
Contact us today to set up an appointment and learn how we can improve your health and increase your quality of life.