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SI Joint Pain

SI Joint Pain

SI Joint Pain services offered in Seattle, WA

Problems in your sacroiliac (SI) joint often cause low back and SI joint pain, making it imperative to diagnose the root cause of your symptoms. At Seattle Spine Institute, Paul E. Schwaegler, MD, and Jeff Fernandez, PA, have helped many people overcome SI joint pain. Their comprehensive care includes non-surgical and surgical approaches, including advanced minimally invasive procedures that effectively fuse the joint. To learn about your treatment options for SI joint pain, call the office in Seattle, Washington, or book online today.

SI Joint Pain Q & A

What causes SI joint pain?

The SI joints connect your sacrum (a triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of your spine) with your left and right hip bones. These joints are unique from others in your body. While most joints are designed to move, the SI joints have very limited movement.

Instead of movement, the SI joints provide stability and serve as a shock absorber for your spine. They help distribute the force of movement between your lower and upper body.

You develop pain when the SI joint ligaments stretch and allow too much movement, or the joint becomes inflamed. These problems occur as a result of:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Ligament sprains
  • Failed SI surgery
  • Slipped lumbar vertebra (spondylolisthesis)
  • Sacral fracture (caused by osteoporosis)
  • Prior lumbar fusion surgery
  • Repetitive, high-impact activities like jogging

Women tend to experience SI joint pain during pregnancy when their ligaments naturally relax and stretch to prepare for childbirth. However, the problem usually improves in the months after delivery. 

Does SI joint pain affect other areas?

Problems in the SI joints commonly cause low back pain. You may also experience hip, buttock, and groin pain or pain that travels into your legs. The pain often affects the way you walk or may worsen when going from sitting to standing, running, or going up stairs.

How is SI joint pain treated?

Your Seattle Spine Institute provider completes a physical exam, often moving your legs to place gentle stress on the SI joint and determine if that’s where your pain originates. Then they get diagnostic imaging to see signs of damage and rule out other low back conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

The first line of treatment for SI joint pain includes medications and joint injections containing a steroid and/or local anesthetic. In some cases, your provider may consider a nerve block to stop the nerves from sending pain signals to your brain.

If your pain persists, you may need surgery to fuse the SI joint. The Seattle Spine Institute team performs minimally invasive surgery using the advanced SImmetry® SI joint fusion system. During your procedure, Dr. Schwaegler prepares the joint, inserts a bone graft, and inserts implants to stabilize the bones while they grow together.

At the earliest sign of SI joint pain, call Seattle Spine Institute or request an appointment online today.

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