Answers to relieve your lower back pain
Submitted by Family Health West
A painful sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is one of the more common causes of low back pain. The SI joint is a large joint in your lower back and buttocks region. It sits between the sacrum and the iliac bone (thus the name “sacroiliac” joint). You can see these joints from the outside as two small dimples on each side of the lower back at the belt line. When the joint becomes painful, it can cause pain in its immediate region or it can refer pain into your abdomen, groin, hip, buttock or leg. “Although largely ignored as a source of pain, studies have found the SI joint “sacroiliac joint” to be the source of pain in up to 30% of patients suffering from low back pain,” says Dr. Lewis.
So what causes SI joint pain? According to Doctor Lewis, There are many different causes of SI joint pain. Pregnancy may be a factor in the development of SI joint problems later in life. Also, if a person has one leg that is shorter that the other, the abnormal alignment may end up causing SI joint pain and problems. Injury to the SI joint is thought to be another common cause of pain. Injury can occur during an automobile accident, for example.
What treatment options are available?
Doctors often begin by prescribing nonsurgical treatment for SI joint dysfunction such as such as ibuprofen. Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) can be used to treat the pain, but it will not control the inflammation. For long term results, however, Doctor Lewis performs injections.
Injections can be placed directly into the SI joint for pain relief. A sacroiliac joint injection serves several purposes. First, by placing numbing medicine into the joint, the amount of immediate pain relief you experience will help confirm or deny the joint as a source of your pain. That is, if you obtain complete relief of your main pain while the joint is numb it means this joint is likely to be the source of your pain. Time-release steroid will be injected into the joint to reduce any presumed inflammation, which on many occasions can provide long-term pain relief.
“Once the diagnosis has been made, injections can be continued as needed every few months,” says Dr. Lewis, “ However, if the injections work well but do not last for long periods of time a procedure known as cooled radio frequency ablation can be performed.” This procedure provides long term relief, typically 9 to 12 months. Information regarding the radio frequency ablation is available on the internet www.baylismedical.com/Images/PDF%20Pain/PM1019_SInergyPatient.pdf
Dr. Kenneth Lewis can be reached at Western Rockies Interventional Pain Specialists in Fruita at 858-2562, serving our community with Family Health West.