What is sacroiliac joint pain?
The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the joint formed by the sacrum (five fused vertebrae near the base of the spine) and the pelvis (ilium). It is a strong, stable joint that connects the spine and upper body to the lower body. SI joint pain is often caused by either excessive or restrictive motion in the joint.
How do you diagnose sacroiliac joint pain?
To diagnose SI joint pain, your physician will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to help identify possible causes. Your doctor may also recommend diagnostic imaging, such as X-ray or MRI, to assist in diagnosing your pain.
In some cases, injections are used to identify the source of the symptoms, making the plan of treatment more focused and leading to a more effective outcome.
How is sacroiliac joint pain treated nonsurgically?
Treatment for SI joint pain focuses on managing the pain and restoring function with conservative care.
Nonsurgical treatment options include:
- SI joint belts or bracing
- Physical therapy
- Self-care, including gentle movement, application of heat or cold, and massage
What surgical treatment options are available for sacroiliac joint pain?
Most patients find relief from their SI joint pain without surgery. In very rare cases where everything else has been tried or the pain is so severe that you cannot do the most basic of daily activities, surgery may be helpful.
Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery
SI joint fusion surgery attaches the sacrum to the pelvic bone so that they grow together into one bone. A fusion will reduce freedom of movement in the spine by making the fused bones immobile, but that immobility serves the purpose of reducing pain.
How SI joint fusion works:
- During surgery, a bone graft is added to the SI joint.
- Your body grows new bony tissue over the bone graft between the two segments of the SI joint, fusing them together.
- When the fused bones heal, the fusion prevents movement at the joint.
More resources on fusion surgery:
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise
Summit’s spine care team is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.
Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota.