Sacroiliac Joint Anatomy
The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the hip bones (iliac crests) to the sacrum, the triangular bone between the lumbar spine and the tailbone (coccyx). The primary function of the sacroiliac joints is to absorb shock between the upper body and the pelvis and legs. Inflammation in this area can cause low back pain that often extends into the buttocks, legs and sometimes the feet. It is estimated that the SI joint is responsible for 15% to 30% of lower back pain cases.1
Treatments for SI Joint Pain
Non-operative treatments include rest, ice or heat, pain medication, manual manipulation or localized injections to help reduce inflammation. However, if non-operative treatment fails to resolve symptoms, surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatment involves fusing together the sacrum and ilium, commonly referred to as an SI joint fusion, eliminating the motion in the joint responsible for the pain and inflammation.
A sacroiliac fusion is completed using implanted screws or rods, and may include a possible bone graft across the joint. Dr. Juris Shibayama performs a minimally-invasive procedure that improves outcomes in pain and disability, and reduces overall recovery time.
Misdiagnosing SI Joint Pain
Diagnosing SI joint pain can be difficult, and sometimes can go misdiagnosed. A recent episode of the daytime talk show The Doctors highlighted a patient with SI joint pain that was misdiagnosed for roughly 10-12 months.
If you or someone you know is suffering from low back pain, it is important to see an experienced spine specialist, such as Dr. Juris Shibayama, for a thorough evaluation.