What is sacroiliac joint pain?
The sacroiliac (SI) joints of the body are located where the sacrum meets the left and right iliac bones. The sacrum is the taper of the spine, and is composed of five fused vertebrae that are in a fixed position. This, combined with the iliac bones, form the pelvis of the body.
The SI joints connect the pelvis to the spine, and have a relatively small range of motion (less than 2mm). While this joint does not move much within the body, it is a critical factor in transferring the weight of the upper body to the legs.
What causes sacroiliac joint pain?
When a person stands erect, the weight of their body rests on these joints. As with any other joint, repeated use can grind away at the cartilage layer and lead to the bones rubbing against one another causing arthritic damage and inflammation. This is the most common cause of SI joint pain, most often stemming from repetitive activity of the joint.
There are a number of other conditions that can lead to SI joint pain as well, such as: infection of the joint, wear and tear arthritis, sprains to the ligaments that encompass the joint, and a number of systemic conditions. Any condition that alters the normal walking pattern of an individual can also potentially lead to SI joint damage, and thus pain.
One particular condition that can lead to sacroiliac joint pain is pregnancy. During this, period, hormones are released into the body that direct the ligaments to relax in preparation for childbirth. A relaxing of the sacroiliac ligaments can lead to too much free movement of the joint, leading to excess wear and tear and cartilage damage.
The symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain
The main symptom of the condition is pain in either the left or right side of the lower back that may spread down into the buttocks, or circle the body to produce pain in the groin. The pain felt can range from either a dull ache to a sharp pain producing a debilitating effect. Pain may occur in the testicles for men.
It is possible for referred pain to occur in the lower limbs. Common results of pain in this area is a stiffness in the lower back after remaining seated for too long, or a localized ache in one side of the lower back.
How is sacroiliac joint pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis of SI joint pain can be a difficult task as the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of a number of other conditions, such as: facet syndrome, disc herniation, and sciatica. Proper diagnosis is usually achieved after a mixture of physical examination and diagnostic injections to locate the exact cause of the pain by an Arizona pain doctor.
Physical examinations are performed to see if the pain can be recreated by movement of the SI joint. If no other conditions can be attributed as the cause of the pain during these movement tests, it may potentially be determined that the SI joint is the cause.
Diagnostic injections may also be used in which the SI joint is numbed via injection at a Phoenix pain clinic. If the pain diminishes while the joint is numbed, it can be concluded that the SI joint is likely the cause of pain.
Treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain
The first step in the treatment of SI joint pain is a regimen of ice, heat, and rest. Ice is used on the area to reduce inflammation, with heat used after pain has faded in order to relax the muscles. Pain medications are often given to the patient during this time. In cases where this first step does not provide a benefit, chiropractic manipulation of the area may provide benefit along with acupuncture.
It is also possible to obtain pain relief through an SI joint block injection, which can provide immediate pain relief to the area. This injection is typically performed prior to starting a rehabilitation program in order to allow the joint to be worked without pain. These injections may provide months of pain relief.
The premier pain clinic in Arizona is Arizona Pain Specialists. With 5 locations and Award Winning, Board Certified pain management doctors in Arizona, the clinics offer comprehensive treatments. Options include medications, injections, chiropractic, acupuncture and physical rehabilitation. Over 50 insurances are accepted at all locations.
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