Is SI Joint Dysfunction the Cause of Your Lower Back Pain?

Apr 04, 2024
 Is SI Joint Dysfunction the Cause of Your Lower Back Pain?

Your sacroiliac (SI) joint connects your spine to your pelvis. When you have issues with your SI joint, you may feel pain in your hips, buttocks, thighs, or lower back. The pain can be stabbing and sharp or numb and tingling. 

Low back pain is among the most common reasons patients visit excellent providers at Pain Consultants of Atlanta. If our providers determine the cause of the pain is SI joint dysfunction, we offer several effective treatments, including minimally invasive SI joint fusion and different types of injections

At any given time, nearly 60% of adults in the United States have low back pain. Somewhere between 15-30% of cases of low back pain are related to SI joint dysfunction. 

Causes of SI joint dysfunction

As you might imagine, your SI joint works hard. It provides stabilization and shock absorption. Improper lifting of heavy items, a hard fall, or trauma from a car accident are all possible ways to injure your SI joint. 

Other potential dysfunction causes include arthritis, sports injuries, osteoporosis, or slipped vertebrae. Some high-impact activities, such as running, may also lead to problems with your SI joint. 

Determining the cause of your pain

Low back pain is common, but not all is due to SI joint dysfunction. Your provider will carefully evaluate your situation to suggest the best course of treatment. You may need to have imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI, along with a thorough physical examination. 

Part of your exam includes questions about your pain, such as whether it’s worse in the morning and gets better during the day, what kinds of activities make it worse, where the pain occurs, whether it radiates down your leg and more. 

Treatments for SI joint malfunction

Once your provider has determined your pain most likely stems from SI joint dysfunction, they suggest treatment options. Often, the first approach is physical therapy, but if that doesn’t resolve your pain, they may move to other options.

SI joint injections

For some people, SI joint injections are effective. This type of injection delivers anesthetic and steroid medications directly to the inflamed, painful joint. For some people, multiple injections over weeks or even months are necessary for relief.
Minimally invasive SI joint surgery 

If SI joint injections aren’t successful, minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery may be a better option. This type of surgery is performed through a very small incision, which makes it less likely that complications will occur. 

Once your doctor makes an incision, they use specialized equipment called the LinQ SI Joint Stabilization System. The goal of the procedure is to fuse the hip bone to your sacrum to make your SI joint more stable, which alleviates your pain. 

SI joint fusion surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes less than an hour. As you heal over the next few weeks, you can gradually return to normal activities. 

Don’t live with back pain

If you have lower back pain, you don’t have to live with it. The Pain Consultants of Atlanta providers can help identify your pain's cause and suggest effective treatments. 

If the problem is SI joint dysfunction, we can help. Schedule your appointment at the most convenient location for you today.