An Overview of Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Injections
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The sacroiliac (SI) joints of the body are where the bones of the sacrum (the tail end of the spine) and the bonds of the pelvis meet. This area is important in providing movement to the legs of the body, and help to provide support for a patient when they are standing upright. Like any other joint of the body, these sacroiliac joints are comprised of cartilage and therefore, susceptible to arthritic damage.
There are numerous other medical complications that may develop in the sacroiliac joint, including sacroiliac joint syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint inflammation, and sacroiliac joint strain. Each of these can potentially result in pain in the sacroiliac joint and can gradually become a debilitating condition requiring treatment.
The human body has two sacroiliac joints.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The sacroiliac joint, just as the other body joints, have a layer of cartilage shielding the bone. This cartilage is not only a shock absorber but also assists in providing movement by having as a smooth surface for the joints to move against one another. In the event that the cartilage is worn out or damaged, which can occur naturally over time, the bones will begin to rub against each other. This may potentially result in osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis).
Arthritic damage in this fashion is one of the most common causes of sacroiliac joint pain. Pregnancy can be another cause. During this period, the hormones that are released to prepare the woman’s body for the impending childbirth cause the ligaments to relax. These relaxed ligaments allow for increased joint movements, which can result to abnormal levels of wear and stress from excess movement. The altered gait and additional weight associated with pregnant women add can extra stress on these joints as they struggle to support the body. Any alteration on the normal walking may increase the stress on the SI joints. These may include discrepancies in leg length, or pain in the knee, foot, or ankle.
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The most common symptom is intense pain at the lower back, or at the rear part of the hip, with similar pain potentially experienced in the thighs and the groin region. Physicians can perform some specialized tests to aid in the isolation of the source of pain. Typically, the pain becomes worse with walking and standing, and improves when sitting or lying down as this reduces the amount of weight placed on the joint. Arthritis and inflammation in the joints can also result in burning sensations and stiffness within the pelvis.
SI joint arthritis
Diagnosis of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The initial step in the diagnosis of SI joint pain is generally a physical exam and an assessment of the patient’s medical history. Physicians will ask questions to determine what underlying disorders are causing the pain. This is critical in differentiating pain emanating from hips, lumbar spine, or SI joints. X-rays (radiographs) are used to exclude some possibilities which are likely to mimic sacroiliac pain. CT (computer tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are the most precise approaches in diagnosing SI joint pain, along with the injection on the pain areas.
Treatment of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Joint Injections not only provide diagnosis but also treatment. The pain duration following the injection can last for a period of twenty-four hours, after which the medication injected should take effect and provide relief for the next few months. The injection is to be repeated at a frequency of once per every twelve months for a duration of three years. Often, oral medications are effective in the relief of pain as well.
If you or a loved one is suffering from Sacroiliac Joint Pain and would like more information, contact Consultants in Pain Medicine today. The practice has a Double Board Certified pain management doctor accepting over 50 insurance plans at multiple locations.
Call (210) 202-4030 for more information and scheduling with pain management SA trusts!