Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusion to Correct SI Joint Dysfunction
If you are struggling with stabbing pain that starts in your hips or pelvis and radiates up the lower back and down the thighs you may be dealing with SI pain. Some people with SI pain struggle to perform normal activities of daily living and do not find relief with over-the-counter or prescribed medications, steroid injections or physical therapy. If you have suffered from this type of pain for more than 6 months and more traditional treatments no longer work, Dr. Joel D. Siegal might want to discuss sacroiliac joint fusion surgery with you.
What is the Sacroiliac Joint?
The SI joint is where the spine meets the pelvis just above the buttock crack. The joint occurs between a large hip bone called the ilium and the bone at the base of the spine called the sacrum. SI joint pain accounts for 30% of all chronic lower back pain that people experience.
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
With dysfunction of the Sacroiliac Joint, each patient experiences a unique symptom complex in terms of the type and intensity of pain. Some people have a lot of lower back pain and notice tingling or numbness in the buttock and/or leg. Other patients complain of a sharper, stabbing pain that radiates from the lower back into the hips, pelvis and legs. It is also common to feel pain in the groin area and increased pain with movement from a seated to standing position.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
There are several possible causes to pain in this joint, including:
- Ankylosing Spondylitis – This form of inflammatory arthritis affects the spine and Sacroiliac Joint. This is a painful condition that intensifies when the joints of the spine and SI joint fuse as a result of the joint inflammation.
- Gout – In response to the body having an abnormally high level of uric acid, gout develops. Typically, people think of gout as something that only affects the feet but it can also involve the sacroiliac joint.
- Injury – Trauma from a car accident, fall or something similar is the most common cause of SI Joint pain.
- Osteoarthritis – The constant stress placed on this joint increases with age. In some people, the wear and tear on the joint causes the cartilage to breakdown and the development of osteoarthritis and pain.
- Patterns of Walking – Even something as simple as abnormal walking patterns can cause dysfunction and pain in the sacroiliac joint. For instance, waddling while pregnant, favoring an injured leg or having one leg longer than the other could cause SI Joint pain.
- Pregnancy – When pregnant, the body naturally releases a hormone called relaxin, which makes the sacroiliac joint more elastic in preparation for pelvic widening during childbirth. This same hormone can cause instability in the sacroiliac joint. For this reason, women have a higher risk of developing SI Joint arthritis than men.
Sacroiliac Joint Fusion
Dr. Joel D. Siegal works with a team of physicians and providers to diagnose and treat this condition. The first line of treatment includes 6 months of physical therapy and medications including oral steroids, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and some antiseizure medications such as Neurontin. Sometimes SI Joint injections with Marcaine and corticosteroids can help identify the SI Joint as the primary pain generator and treat the SI Joint pain simultaneously. Radiofrequency ablation is another option that can be utilized to burn the pain-causing nerves thereby decreasing the low back pain due to SI Joint inflammation.
If you’ve had pain due to dysfunction of the SI Joint for more than 6 months, failed physical therapy, medications and have had 2 SI Joint injections confirming that it is indeed the primary pain generator, Dr. Joel D. Siegal may offer you a Sacroiliac Joint Fusion. An SI Joint Fusion stabilizes the SI Joint through a minimally invasive procedure. Fusing the iliac and sacral bones helps stabilize the joint, dramatically reducing or eliminating the pain and other unpleasant symptoms in an astounding 92% of patients.