The Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) is the joint bridging the lowest segment of the spinal column (Sacrum) to the bones of the pelvis.
These joints support the upper body when we are standing. Over time, the SI joint can develop arthritis and become painful, particularly when walking or climbing stairs.
The location of the pain is generally in the lower back, buttocks and thighs.
The pain is usually no more than a mild to moderate ache around the dimple or posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) region. However, the pain may become worse or sharp while doing activities such as standing up from a seated position or lifting the knee up to the chest during stair climbing. The pain is usually felt on one side or the other – but can occasionally be bilateral.
When the pain caused by the SI is severe (which is infrequent) there can be referred pain into the hip, groin and occasionally down the leg, but the pain rarely radiates below the knee.
A complete medical history and examination are performed.
Other diagnostic tests are used to rule out other lesions but are generally unrevealing for SI joint pain. The most accurate way to diagnose SI pain is to inject the area with anaesthetic. If the pain disappears – then the SI joint is the most likely cause of the pain.
Non surgical options are the most appropriate way to relieve SI joint pain. The first treatment options are usually include physical therapy and/or medication. If the pain persists, injections can be done. Rhizotomy, a procedure done to deaden the nerves around the joint may be done to control the pain. Surgery (other than Rhizotomy) is rarely done to treat SI pain.