The sacroiliac joint, more commonly referred to as the SI joint, is located at the bottom of the spine where the sacrum connects to the pelvis. When someone experiences pain in this area, it is due to improper movement at the joint. This leads to moderate to severe pain in the lower back and legs and inflammation of the joints. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction treatment typically does not require surgery, instead focusing solely on restoring natural movement to the joint. Below are some of the treatments available to help with this extremely painful condition.
Alternating Ice/Heat Therapy and Lots of Rest
The first form of treatment for SI joint dysfunction is the classic cold and hot therapy, along with rest. You should start with cold therapy, using ice and cold packs on the area of pain for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Be sure to rest while using cold therapy, because physical activity could worsen the condition. After about two weeks, heating pads might help speed up the healing process. During this time, you can alternate use of the ice packs and heating pads for optimal pain relief.
Physical Therapy and Light Exercise
When you’re in this much pain, physical therapy and exercise are probably the last things you want to do. They can both be very beneficial when done right. A physical therapist will be able to evaluate the severity of your SI joint dysfunction and create a personalized plan to get you moving pain-free again. You’ll work on strengthening the muscles around the sacroiliac joint. Light aerobic exercise is also beneficial, as it will get the blood pumping around the joint. This helps the healing process. Your physical therapist may also recommend a specialized brace to add support to the injured joint.
Medications are another treatment option, although this only helps mask the pain. Some options include pain medications, like acetaminophen, and anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen. In severe cases, you might need to use stronger medications. In this case, your doctor will prescribe whatever he or she feels is best.
SI Joint Injections
Another excellent treatment is SI joint injections. During the procedure, you’ll get a numbing shot in the area of injection, so you don’t have to worry about a painful experience. Once positioned, a real-time X-ray machine will locate the precise site for injection, and your doctor will inject a corticosteroid medication into the joint. The procedure is quick and results in light soreness for a short period. After just 2–3 days, you’ll know if the injection is going to work for you. This procedure is both safe and effective for treatment of SI joint dysfunction.
With so many treatment options available, including the SI joint injections, there’s no reason you should suffer in pain anymore. See your doctor today to find out which treatment option is best for you, and you’ll be on your way to a pain-free life in no time. Don’t wait for the pain in your lower back to get worse.