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Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The  sacroiliac joints (SI joints)  are created when the lowest part of the spine, called the sacrum, connects to the backside of the pelvis (ileum) to form a joint on each side. Arthritis can develop within the SI joint resulting in significant pain. Causes of sacroiliac joint pain include:

  • Abnormal movement of the SI joint

    • Either joints move too much (hypermobile) or they are too stiff (hypomobile)

  • Trauma from accident or injury

    • Car accident

  • Repetitive tension on the joints

    • Pregnancy

  • Conditions that cause inflammation of SI joints

    • Reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis

What type of pain can you experience with sacroiliac joint pain?

Pain is usually located in the lowest part of the back, buttocks, back of the thigh and even the groin and can present as:

  • Tenderness over the joint when pressed

  • Joint stiffness

  • Locking of the joint

  • Pain worse with standing and improved with lying down

  • Burning pain

How can our St. Louis pain doctors help diagnose your sacroiliac joint pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain can be very difficult to diagnose as it can be hard to distinguish this pain from hip pain, pelvic pain or low back pain. At St. Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists our pain physicians are proficient in diagnosing SI joint pain which ensures that your pain is treated appropriately and unnecessary treatments are avoided.

  • Thorough history and physical exam

  • X-ray

  • MRI​

  • Bone scan

  • Diagnostic SI joint injection

    • If the SI joint is suspected as the cause of pain despite negative imaging, a numbing medication can be injected around the joint. If the pain goes away, this injection can show that the joint was causing the patient's pain.

What are your treatment options?

  • Therapeutic SI joint injections

    • Uses a steroid that blocks pain and decreases inflammation

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Sacroiliac belt 

    • Stabilizes the SI joint to prevent excessive movement

  • Physical therapy


What can you do to avoid or decrease sacroiliac joint pain?

  • Exercise

    • Prevents the muscles around the joint from becoming weak and putting more pressure on joints

  • Weight loss

  • Stretching

  • Yoga

    • Good for stiff SI joints to make them more flexible

For more information or to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your sacroiliac joint pain with one of our specialized pain management physicians, call Saint Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists today.

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