The sacroiliac joint connects the spine to the pelvis and supports many important functions including walking, sitting, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, twisting, turning, and running. In addition, the SI joint is responsible for stabilizing the upper body during movement.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as low back pain, hip pain, groin pain, buttock pain, leg pain, numbness/tingling, weakness, or lack of coordination, it might be because of a problem with the SI joint.
This article explains what causes SI joint problems, how to identify SI joint pain, and treatments that work well to relieve pain.
If you are suffering from SIJS, here are some things you might want to try for immediate relief.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
- Apply heat to the affected area.
- Avoid activities that cause strain or pressure on the joints.
- Try stretching exercises to keep your body limber.
- If symptoms persist, see your doctor.
There are several types of medication that can be used to treat sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Your physician will likely recommend one type of drug based on your symptoms and physical exam findings. However, there are many different options to choose from.
The most common treatments for SI joint dysfunction are NSAIDs, acetaminophen, and corticosteroids. While each of these medications has advantages and disadvantages, none is ideal.
In general, NSAIDs are recommended for short term use because they don’t provide long-term relief. Acetaminophen works well for mild to moderate pain, but doesn’t provide much benefit for reducing inflammation.
Corticosteroids are effective in treating acute pain and inflammation, but are associated with significant side effects.
In addition to prescription medications, there are some natural alternatives that may help ease pain and reduce inflammation. Herbs like turmeric, ginger, and boswellia are known to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
Other herbs known to help reduce pain and inflammation include kava kava, black cohosh, and evening primrose oil.
Exercise is another important part of treatment for SI joint dysfunction. A combination of stretching exercises and strengthening movements can improve flexibility and strength, helping prevent future injuries.
Your sacroiliac joints are located behind your hips and connect your spine to your pelvis. They allow you to stand up straight and move around comfortably. However, prolonged periods of sitting, standing, or walking can lead to pain in your SI joints.
This type of discomfort can make it difficult to sit down, walk, run, or even sleep (see also “Which Is The Better Sleeping Aid, Benadryl Or Melatonin?“) without experiencing some level of pain. If left untreated, this could lead to problems like arthritis, nerve damage, and loss of mobility.
Fortunately, physical therapists can provide relief through a variety of treatments designed to reduce pain and improve overall function.
A physical therapy consultation is designed to assess your current level of fitness and determine what types of exercise are best suited for your needs.
A physical therapist will develop a customized treatment plan based on your assessment, including recommendations for strengthening and stretching exercises, postural alignment, and gait training.
Your physical therapist will provide patient education about proper form and techniques to prevent injury while performing specific movements.
Your physical therapist will work with your physician to ensure that there are no contraindications to exercise prior to beginning your rehabilitation program.
If necessary, your physical therapist will assist you with prescription medications and/or equipment needed to complete your prescribed treatments. You will receive ongoing care throughout your recovery period, and your progress will be monitored regularly.
Interventional pain management techniques like radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and electrical stimulation (ESI) are also used to treat SI joint dysfunction.
These methods temporarily disable nerves from conducting pain signals, reducing pain and swelling. A sacroiliac belt is another treatment option. These wraps are designed to hold your SI joints together, helping to provide support and relief from pain.
In addition, exercise and stretching can help improve flexibility and strength of muscles surrounding your SI joints. Finally, rest is important to allow your body to heal.
Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
As we’ve seen, Sacroiliac joint syndrome is a common source of low back pain. This type of pain occurs when the sacrum becomes irritated. When this happens, it can cause inflammation and pressure on the sciatic nerve.
This causes numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain down into the leg.
The most effective way to treat this problem is with percutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation. This is done by placing a tiny electrode directly onto the affected nerve.
This allows us to deliver electric pulses directly to the area causing the pain. We use this technique for patients suffering from chronic pain due to sacroiliac joint syndrome.
Although surgery is rarely used to diagnose or treat sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, it may be necessary to stabilize the joint or fuse it to relieve severe symptoms.
This procedure involves making small incisions in several places around the pelvis, including the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, hips, and upper legs.
The most common cause of workplace injury is repetitive motion injuries and can affect the sacroiliac joint.
These injuries occur when workers perform tasks such as typing, operating machinery, assembling products, and performing other jobs where repeated motions are required.
Repetitive motion injuries account for approximately 40% of all occupational illnesses and injuries.
Workers who sustain a repetitive motion injury may experience pain, fatigue, stiffness, swelling, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, loss of dexterity, and difficulty concentrating.
Prevention is key to avoiding recurrences. Workers must learn proper lifting techniques. They must practice good posture while sitting, standing, moving and sleeping. Workers must stretch regularly.
Workers who are suffering from sacroiliac pain must be allowed to do light duty or modified duty for a period of time. Light duty refers to activities that are less strenuous than the worker’s normal job duties.
Examples include working in another department, doing clerical work, filing documents, answering phones, and assisting co-workers.
Modified duty refers to activities that require some physical effort but are still within the limits of safety. Examples include driving a forklift or cleaning up spills.
If you are experiencing pain that does not seem to go away despite following recommendations from your doctor, it might be worth scheduling another appointment. A patient may have had a previous injury that is causing ongoing symptoms.
Or there could be something else going on. If you don’t see improvement within a few weeks, it’s important to schedule a second appointment with your primary care physician.
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