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What’s the Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain or sacroiliitis is a common form of joint pain that impacts one or both of one’s sacroiliac joints of your body. The sacroiliac joints are present in the triangular part of your spine meets the ilium part of your pelvis. Patients suffering from sacroiliac joint pain will experience acute pain in lower back, thighs, or buttocks. It can be difficult to identify the symptoms and accurately diagnose sacroiliitis.

So what’s the treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain? Some include physical therapy, and surgical procedures that can help provide you with relief from the pain. Nearly 1 in 4 people are at risk from suffering from SI joint pain, so it’s best to seek professional help.

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Preliminary Treatment Options for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Before you get too worked up about the pain, there are some preliminary treatment options that you can try out before considering more invasive options. These are rather simple pain-relief initial treatment options that can provide you solace from SI joint pain from the comfort of your own home. These include: 

  • Adequate rest without adding stress to your back: One to two days of relaxation may be recommended. Resting for more than a few days isn't advised because it can exacerbate stiffness, increase pain, and lead to general deconditioning.
  • Sacroiliac joint injections: To lower inflammation and aid in pain relief, an anti-inflammatory drug, such as a corticosteroid, is injected along with a local anesthetic (such as lidocaine or bupivacaine). A joint injection's ability to relieve pain might reduce discomfort experienced when beginning a physical treatment regimen and increasing activity levels.
  • Visiting a chiropractor: If sacroiliac joint pain is brought on by insufficient motion, manual manipulation administered by a chiropractor, osteopathic physician, or other skilled health practitioner can be quite beneficial (hypomobility). The purpose of this therapy is to lessen joint fixation and muscle tension while restoring normal range of motion.
  • Using mechanical supports or braces: In order to stabilize the SI joint when it's too loose (hypermobile), a pelvic brace can be put around the waist and pulled securely. When the joint is inflamed and uncomfortable, a pelvic brace-which is roughly the size of a wide belt-can be useful.
  • Taking pain medicine: For mild to moderate pain treatment, over-the-counter analgesics (such as acetaminophen) and NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) may be suggested. If you’re suffering from severe pain, prescription drugs such as narcotic painkillers or muscle relaxants may be administered. These drugs need to be used carefully because they can have serious negative effects and are very addictive.
  • Using ice packs or heat: Ice helps reduce swelling and ease pain and discomfort when administered to the pelvis and low back. By easing muscle tension or spasms, heat administered around the joint may aid in pain relief.

Physical Therapy for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

While home remedies can have some success, depending on the severity you may require physical therapy to treat SI joint pain. Non-surgical physical therapy can prove effective by targeting the affected region and helping relax the muscle spasms. These exercises are primarily intended for patients who are aiming to reduce SI joint pain and return to normal mobility. These include: 

Aerobic exercise: An aerobic exercise programme can aid in improving blood flow to the area while also supplying injured tissues with nutrients and oxygen. This can hasten the healing procedure. To reduce pain from exercise, low-impact aerobics may be necessary for SI joint problems. This includes activities like elliptical jogging, stationary cycling, and aquatic aerobics.

Strength building: Exercises that increase muscle strength can help the sacroiliac joint, pelvis, and lower back. Strengthening the abdominal muscles, lateral trunk muscles, and low back muscles can improve support for the SI joint. This can aid in pain management of your SI joint and in muscular relaxation.

Muscle stretches: Stretching helps ease lower back, hip, and pelvic muscle spasms as well as those in the piriformis, gluteus maximus, and hamstring muscles. SI joint pain may originate from tension in these muscles brought on by sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Surgical Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

If the pain from sacroiliac joint dysfunction is too severe, then you may need to consider surgical treatment to alleviate the SI joint pain. The standard surgical procedure followed to address sacroiliitis is sacroiliac joint fusion. It's a minimally invasive procedure that involves grafting the ilium and sacrum together. The procedure involves using multiple implants that are put in place to stabilize the SI joint and prevent its movement. 

In order to fuse the sacroiliac joint, screws or rods are implanted. This makes it possible to place bone graft material there as well. Less intrusive techniques have been created that shorten recovery times while improving outcomes for pain and impairment.

Risk Factors of Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Procedure

Only after non-surgical options have been attempted for at least 8 to 12 weeks and have generally failed is sacroiliac joint fusion advised. Before surgery is suggested, non-surgical therapy for sacroiliac joint dysfunction should be practiced for a few months.

The likelihood that surgery won't relieve pain and/or that the joint won't fuse successfully is the main risk of sacroiliac joint fusion. Another possibility is that the fused sacroiliac joint will transfer pelvic pressure normally absorbed to the lower spine, resulting in lower back pain and pressure (called adjacent segment disease). Within 6 months of surgery, this complication has been documented in roughly 5% of sacroiliac joint fusion patients.

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Procedure

Sacroiliac joint fusion is accomplished using one of two surgical systems, each of which consists of the implants that fuse the joint together and associated surgical equipment. Each and every minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion treatment includes the following:

  • In order to transfer the muscles to the side, a tiny incision is made across the lower back while under general anesthetic.
  • The surgeon will then drill a small hole through the ilium using a tool to allow access to the joint.
  • In order to promote bone growth, the sacroiliac joint is decompressed. This clears the area of ligaments and muscles. The joint is then covered with a bone graft and surgical implants.
  • The surgical incision is finally stitched shut when the muscles have been returned to their proper positions.

Underlying Causes for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Most of the symptoms of sacroiliitis are brought on by inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. Apart from this, there can be many medical conditions that can cause inflammation in the sacroiliac joint. These could be the underlying cause for the sacroiliac joint pain. Some of them are: 

Pyogenic sacroiliitis: The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus can cause sacroiliac joint infection which can lead to acute sacroiliitis.

Trauma: Symptoms may be brought on by a fall, car accident, or other injury to the ligaments encircling or supporting the sacroiliac joint.

Osteoarthritis: The sacroiliac joints are susceptible to this form of wear-and-tear arthritis, which develops as a result of ligament damage.

Psoriatic arthritis: Along with psoriasis, this inflammatory illness also causes joint pain and swelling (scaly patches on the skin). The sacroiliac joints and other spinal joints may become inflamed as a result of psoriatic arthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis: This is a form of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine's joints. A common early sign of ankylosing spondylitis is sacroiliitis.

Pregnancy: The sacroiliac joint might spin as a result of the hormones produced during pregnancy relaxing the pelvic muscles and ligaments. Additionally, the added weight of pregnancy may strain and wear down the sacroiliac joint.

When Should You Call a Doctor?

There’s no exact way in which you can prevent sacroiliitis but you can manage the pain by taking prudent measures. If left untreated, the pain can be debilitating and may lead to loss of mobility. A sign that your case of sacroiliac joint pain is severe is if it worsens when you try to rotate your hips and if it's associated with a sharp stabbing pain in your lower back.  

The pain can also cause disturbed sleep cycles and affect your mental health. If the affected vertebrae in your spine end up fusing together, then your back will stiffen which will only compound the pain. 

You should consider consulting your doctor if you have chronic pain in regions in and around your lower back. Doctors may recommend radiofrequency ablation, sports medicine, steroid injection, or physical therapy before considering surgery for SIJ dysfunction.

Get Effective Pain Relief and Physical Wellness at aNu Aesthetics

While pain from sacroiliac joint dysfunction can adversely affect your quality of life, it isn't a permanent issue that you need to deal with. Physical wellness can be achieved along with effective pain relief with the help of our doctors at aNu Aesthetics. We have board-certified physicians who practice functional medicine to help alleviate your pain and solve your medical issues. 

Our mission is to spread optimal physical wellness by using our services to help our patients embrace self-care, optimal health, and get on track to attain overall well-being. We provide our patients with services such as medical spa treatments for body pain, nutritional supplements, and IM and IV therapy, among others. Contact us today to book your appointment. 

Rewind The Clock Both Outside And In

Regenerative therapy has helped countless patients look and feel like the person they were years before. Call us today to book your regenerative therapy consultation.

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