Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The Sacroiliac Joint has received considerable attention in the last twenty years as a major source of back pain. Two “World Congress Conferences on the Sacroiliac Joint” were held in 1992 and 1995. The consensus following these conferences was that 80% of single-side low back and buttock pain is related to the sacroiliac joint, and that at least 30% of across the back – low back pain is caused by the sacroiliac joints. There is a left and right sacroiliac joint, where the spine attaches to the back of the pelvis. Much progress has been made in understanding the function and pathophysiology of this joint and its contribution to back pain. Several new procedures such as ligament rejuvenation can offer the majority of sacroiliac sufferers good pain relief without the need for surgery.

Pre-1990s Treatment

Before the 1990s, the sacroiliac joint was not really considered a source of pain. When we realized it caused pain, the original concept was the sacroiliac joint got jammed in place. The treatment was to stretch it and unjam it. This concept was proven invalid and often this effort to free-up the joint worsened the pain.

Anatomy of The Sacroiliac Joint

The sacroiliac joint is formed by a triangular bone, the Sacrum, that wedges into the pelvic girdle and supports the spine. Each time we move or walk, weight is shifted alternately down one side, then the other. The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is the only joint in our body that is not smooth and shiny. It has rough grooves and locks when weight is applied to the joint. It is formed as the triangular sacral bone inserts into the back of our pelvis. The SIJ moves with a rotation and a sliding movement as we walk. When we walk, we swing one leg at a time. The swing of our leg causes the SIJ to unlock and to move. As we put the leg down, it locks the SIJ. So, when we firmly put our weight onto the joint, the joint is locked. When it malfunctions, there is slippage, or loosening, or stretching of the joint. This malfunction, dysfunction and stretching of the joint and joint capsule causes the sacroiliac pain with standing and walking. The SIJ ligaments and joint capsule stretch and this can cause severe pain.

Regenerative Injection Therapy for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Regenerative Therapy with Radiofrequency was pioneered by Dr. Lawrence Gorfine at the Palm Beach Spine & Diagnostic Institute. It is a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure that strengthens the sacroiliac joint and stops the pain caused by the dysfunction or injury. This approach combines a permanent regenerative injection along with radiofrequency that is used to ablate a nerve through the use of controlled heat impulses. It is performed as an outpatient procedure under fluoroscopic x-ray visualization to ensure accurate treatment and optimum results.

For the majority of patients, the severe pain is completely relieved and surgery is not needed!

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