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Si joint pain: the facts

© Albert Lozano-Nieto hemostats and clamps
© Albert Lozano-Nieto
What is the SI joint?
The SI joints are created when the sacrum and right and left iliac bones join together. The sacrum is the name of a triangular-shaped bone found in the lower spine while the right and left iliac bones are the two large bones that form the pelvis.

The SI joints therefore connect the spine and the pelvis. The joints are held together by ligaments. When an individual stands upright, the joints are required to support the weight of the upper body. This places stress upon the joints and over time, can result in their degeneration.
SI joint pain symptoms
SI joint dysfunction causes pain in the lower back, back of the hips, groin and/or thighs. Tests can be performed to determine the source of pain and isolate it.


Standing and walking contributes to SI joint pain. Pain is typically improved upon lying down. If the joint is affected by arthritis and inflammation, a sensation of stiffness and burning may also be experienced in the pelvis.
SI joint pain diagnosis
To diagnose SI joint pain, a general practitioner will be required to take a thorough medical history and perform a physical examination. He will perform a variety of tests to aid in determining the source of the pain. X-rays of the pelvis, lumbar spine and hips may be requested. A CT scan can aid diagnosis, as can an MRI scan.

The most accurate method for diagnosing SI joint pain is the administration of a numbing injection into the affected area. This aids in the identification of the source of the pain. The injection can also help relieve the pain associated with SI joint dysfunction.
SI joint pain treatment
Anaesthetic and steroidal injections can provide treatment for SI joint pain. The duration of the effects of these injections varies. Injections may need to be repeated often. Oral anti-inflammatory medicines can also be used to treat SI joint pain and physiotherapy can help to lessen pain. If treatments for SI joint pain fail to reduce pain, surgery may be an option. This involves fusing the SI joints and is only considered when other treatments have failed to work.

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