Sacroiliac joint pain is a common cause of low back pain. In fact, it affects nearly 1/3 of all patients who present with low back pain. Sacroiliac joint pain is often experienced as extreme low back and/or buttock pain. Some patients with sacroiliac joint pain also experience groin pain.
How is Sacroiliac Joint Pain diagnosed?
Sacroiliac joint pain is diagnosed through a detailed history and physical examination by your provider at the Denver Spine and Pain Institute. You may have sacroiliac joint pain if you have the following:
Buttock pain that is worse with walking and sitting on hard surfaces
Pain with specific examination maneuvers that your provider will perform
If these maneuvers create your typical pain, it is likely you are experiencing pain related to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Your provider will then discuss various treatments for your pain.
What is the treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
Once the diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is made, your provider will design a diagnosis- specific treatment plan that is tailored to your lifestyle and needs. As with all pain-related complaints, the goal is to start with conservative treatment and move to more invasive treatments as indicated. Common treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction are:
Physical therapy – The goals of physical therapy are to improve mobility, decrease pain and address any mechanical or muscular conditions that may be contributing to your sacroiliac joint pain
Non-opioid medications – anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants can help provide short-term relief of symptoms, making it easier for you to participate in physical therapy
If conservative treatments fail to provide relief, other interventions can be considered. Injections into the joint using either corticosteroid or regenerative medicine products (Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cells), Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), and Sacroiliac Joint Arthrodesis are treatments that can provide profound relief if you have persistent pain despite conservative care.
Sacroiliac joint injections are performed by placing a small needle into the joint using image-guidance, most commonly fluoroscopy (x-ray), and can be used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. If the diagnosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is unclear, your provider may order an injection of only numbing medication into the joint. If you experience significant relief of your pain when the numbing agent is acting, it is likely you have sacroiliac joint dysfunction/pain. Injections can also be used for therapeutic purposes. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatories and can injected in the joint to provide relief of your symptoms. Regenerative medicine is an exciting new branch of medicine and has applications for sacroiliac joint pain as well. Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections may be recommended by your provider as a more long-term solution to your pain.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is another effective treatment for sacroiliac joint pain. It uses heat delivered through small needles to cauterize the nerves that supply pain signals from the sacroiliac joint. The needles are placed under X-ray guidance to assure accuracy. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting and takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The Denver Spine and Pain Institute does offer sedation intravenous (IV) sedation for patients who request it. Diagnostic nerve blocks called lateral branch blocks must be performed prior to RFA to make sure you are a good candidate for this procedure.
Sacroiliac Joint Arthrodesis
Sacroiliac Joint Arthrodesis is a procedure to help stabilize and/or fuse the sacroiliac joint if you have failed to see relief with all other conservative therapies. It can also help stabilize the strong ligaments surrounding the sacroiliac joint through a process called distraction. The procedure is done in the outpatient setting and takes approximately one hour to complete. The procedure is done using x-ray guidance and can be performed through a small incision (approximately 1 centimeter).
Restoring a Pain-Free Life
Sacroiliac joint pain and dysfunction can significantly impact the quality of your life, making it hard to perform routine daily tasks and participate in your favorite activities. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with this pain any longer. At the Denver Spine and Pain Institute, we offer the most advanced treatments to alleviate your pain, helping you enjoy life again.
We’re the only sports, back and pain specialists in the country providing a Connected Care Approach™ specifically designed to get you back to enjoying life faster. This approach involves:
A full spectrum of care, including physicians, physical therapy, massage, diet and lifestyle coaching, behavioral health, research, and cutting edge treatment options
Developing caring and therapeutic relationships that address your unique needs
Discussing options and providing the guidance you need from a dedicated healthcare partner
Mobilizing an experienced team who coordinates your care program
Schedule an Appointment
Please contact us today to schedule an appointment. The Denver Spine and Pain Institute serves patients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.