Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain causes twelve to twenty five percent of low back pain. The latest research is showing that radiofrequency ablation for sacroiliiac joint pain is very good at relieving symptoms for over six months. Hear Dr. Greene explain.
Low back pain in America affects over 30 million Americans, and up to 25% of it is coming from a problem in the SI joint. Humans have 2 sacroiliac joints (one on each side of the low back), and each may be afflicted with degenerative arthritis. These joints have cartilage that is similar to the hip or knee. Each joint has a little bit of movement associated with it, and if the joints are degenerative then pain may be produced by even slight movement.
Radiofrequency ablation for SI joint pain is a fairly new procedure in the world of pain management Mesa AZ. The procedure works tremendously well for facet joint pain in the lumbar spine and cervical spine. It is a natural progression to use it for sacroiliac joint pain. Research has shown in multiple studies that it works well between 30% of the time and 90% of the time. There are no large scale studies to date that are randomized and prospective.
Initial treatment by pain management doctors in Arizona for sacroiliac joint pain consists of a sacroiliac joint injection. There are 2 reasons to do in SI joint injection, with the 1st being diagnostic purpose. This is an injection consisting of simply numbing medicine such as lidocaine or Marcaine. The medication can be injected right into the sacroiliac joint to see if the patient achieves significant pain release. It can also be injected into the area around sacroiliac joint where the small nerve endings provide sensation to the joint.
If the injection provides a substantial amount of pain relief, the assessment is that the sacroiliac joint is the source of the patient's pain. The therapeutic injection consists of numbing medicine along with steroid and this can provide a few months of pain relief.
When either the diagnostic and therapeutic injection wears off, the patient may then be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation. Typically if the patient achieved over 50% pain relief than the radiofrequency procedure is indicated. There is some recent research showing that good results with radiofrequency ablation can be achieved even if the diagnostic injection failed. Unfortunately, insurance companies typically want over a 50% pain reduction affect prior to approving the radiofrequency procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation procedures for the SI joint can provide over a year of pain relief. Study looking at radiofrequency ablation procedures for the facet joint and lumbar spine showed almost 500 days of pain relief on average, which is almost a year and a half. That's an amazing amount of time where patients can not have to live in such dramatic pain from an SI joint problem.
The risks of an SI joint radiofrequency neurotomy include potentially infection which is a very low risk, failure to relieve the pain, and potentially increased pain for a few weeks due to muscle spasm. There is also a very low risk of injury to one of the nerve roots in the region.
When the radiofrequency procedure wears off and the pain comes back, it may be repeated with the same excellent results expected the 2nd time around.
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One of the most substantial causes of pain in the lower back is an SI joint problem known as sacroiliac joint disease. This joint is located in the lower back area at the bottom of the spine and there is a joint located on each side. That means you have double the chances of developing arthritis in the joints, isn’t that great?
The sacroiliac joint has cartilage just like any other joint in the body, and is therefore prone to developing arthritis. These are weight bearing joints, they just don’t have as much motion as a joint such as the knee or the hip. If an individual has a exacerbation of arthritis and the SI joint or an inflammatory problem, twisting motions are usually very painful and sitting for a longer period of time can be painful as well.
If the patient has SI joint pain, treatment at the outset should consist of anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen, along with Tylenol. They should always be taken according to the manufacturers dosing on the packaging.
Scottsdale chiropractor treatment can help realign a sacroiliac joint. This may be necessary over a few treatments to make sure the pain relief stays in place, and physical therapy may help as well to strengthen up the muscles around the sacroiliac joint. There are a substantial amount of ligaments and muscles that attach in this area.
A TENS unit can provide great pain relief. It is a small device about the size of an iPod that emits slight electrical impulses which tend to replace pain in the area with a tingling sensation. It also stimulates endorphins which are the body’s natural pain relievers.
One treatment that has been around for a very long time is acupuncture. What is new with acupuncture Phoenix is that a substantial amount of new research has shown its effectiveness for treating arthritis conditions like sacroiliac joint disease. Therefore it is an excellent low risk treatment that can have great benefits for patients.
If these treatments do not alleviate a person’s pain, a pain management Mesa AZ doctor may place a steroid or a nonsteroidal injection into the joint itself. A real-time x-ray machine should be used for these injections as it can be very difficult to ensure accurate placement. The joint has arthritis it can be in a regular surface with difficulty in putting the needle accurately into it. The steroid may provide pain relief for a few weeks to a few months and may then need to be repeated. There’s not a lot of research on nonsteroidal injections, but they are showing some promise.
Another treatment that is on the cutting edge of sacroiliac joint treatment is called radiofrequency ablation. There are small nerve endings that provide sensation to the sacroiliac joint. Every joint needs some sort of sensation to feel pain, otherwise it would not hurt at all.
A radiofrequency ablation deadens those tiny little nerve endings and may provide pain relief for months to upwards of 2 years. As common as sacroiliac joint disease is, thankfully there are multiple therapeutic options available to help patients get out of pain.
If you are looking for pain clinics in Arizona for treatment of SI pain, call (602) 507-6550 today. Board Certified pain management doctors in Arizona and chiropractors valleywide. Same day appointments available. Let us HELP you!