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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction  

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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a condition of the lower spine, that can be very painful. It is other referred to as sacroiliitis. It is a very common cause of lower back pain and is mostly caused by an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. Such joints have the function of connecting the bone at the bottom of the vertebrae to the upper part of the pelvis. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can affect both of these joints.

Pain can be experienced either in the lower back or in the buttocks. There are also cases of sacroiliac joint dysfunction which can lead to pain in either one or both legs.

Treatments for Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Your local rehabilitation specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians provide several effective therapy options to treat sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction treatment can include medications. Some medications can help to provide relief from the symptoms, which can improve the quality of life of the patient. What type of medications will best help your case will depend on what is causing the condition and how severe it is.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen or ibuprofen can provide relief from the pain. There are however also cases where such over-the-counter medications aren’t effective. In cases where such over-the-counter medications aren’t successful in your case, your doctor might need to prescribe you some higher-dose prescription drugs. Some types of muscle relaxants can help to treat muscle spasms, which are caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

TNF inhibitors. There is one particular case of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, that has been connected to a type of rheumatoid arthritis, other referred to as ankylosing spondylitis. Part of the treatment for this type of rheumatoid arthritis is with TNF inhibitors. TNF inhibitors can provide symptom relief and can reduce inflammation. Some examples of such medications include infliximab, adalimumab, or etanercept.

Physical therapy. Another way of treating sacroiliac joint pain is with the help of physical therapy. Physical therapy can help maintain strength and flexibility in the sacroiliac joint. It is often used along with medications. There are several exercises, which can help to build stability and improve range of motion. One of the important aspects of a physical therapy session is stretching, which can be very helpful in cases of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Therefore, physical therapy might include not only stretching exercises but strengthening ones as well. Such exercises can help the muscles to support the hips and the pelvis. Other types of exercises might help improve the motion of the joint. When treating sacroiliac joint dysfunction, it is also important that you learn all about proper posture. Good posture can help to get rid of any unnecessary pressure, that might be put on the sacroiliac joint. Your physical therapist will also show you how to lift properly, how to bend, and how to do other actions.

In cases where sacroiliac joint dysfunction changes how you walk, your physical therapy might provide you with gait training, or you might need to use walkers and other assistive devices when walking, while you are in your healing period.

Manual therapy. Treatment for sacroiliac joint might also include manual therapy. It is a treatment process that is used to help improve mobility and ease the symptoms. Some possible manual therapies include joint mobilization and massage therapy. Electrotherapy is also an example of manual therapy, during which soft tissue in joints is stimulated with the use of electrical energy. This can help to regain mobility.

Oral steroids. Other options for treating sacroiliac joint dysfunction include oral steroids, which however can only be used short-term.

Corticosteroid injections. Some patients can profit from corticosteroid injections. Such corticosteroid injections can have a more powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect and can be injected directly into the inflamed area.

Radiofrequency ablation. Radiofrequency ablation can also be used as a treatment option, during which energy is used to help deactivate the nerves that cause your pain.

Surgery. Surgery is considered to be the last possible option after everything else has failed. One surgical approach that can be used is sacroiliac joint fusion surgery. During this surgical procedure, small screws and plates are used to hold the bones in the sacroiliac joint together, so that they can regrow or fuse.

This surgical approach might be suggested in cases where all possible conservative approaches haven’t been effective and your condition becomes chronic.

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Treatment for sacroiliac joint might also include manual therapy. It is a treatment process that is used to help improve mobility and ease the symptoms. Some possible manual therapies include joint mobilization and massage therapy. Electrotherapy is also an example of manual therapy, during which soft tissue in joints is stimulated with the use of electrical energy. This can help to regain mobility.

For more information visit our outpatient pain management center located in Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan.

How is sacroiliac joint dysfunction diagnosed?

Before being able to decide which treatment approach is best for you, your doctor will first need to diagnose the cause of your back pain. Symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be very similar to those connected to sciatica or a herniated disc.

This can make diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction more difficult. An X-ray or an MRI scan can help to get images of the affected joint, which can help your doctor to diagnose the condition.

Another way of diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction is by injecting a numbing medication into the joints, which can help to evaluate whether it provides symptom relief or not. In cases where symptoms get better after a numbing injection, sacroiliac joint dysfunction is likely the cause of the pain.

  • ★★★★★


    Dr. Raval is very kind and explains everything in layman’s terms, which is super helpful. Thanks so much, guys! 🙂

  • ★★★★★


    Dr. Raval was extremely professional, thorough, and kind. He explained everything he was doing as he did it and really helped to put my mind at ease. He also recommended a physical therapist for further treatment. Great doctor, great visit. Highly recommended.

What causes sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

Several conditions can lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Osteoarthritis is one of them. Putting stress on the sacroiliac joint can lead to the cartilage wearing down and leading to osteoarthritis. As we age, osteoarthritis can affect the sacroiliac joint, the spine, as well as other joints throughout the body.

Gout can be another cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It develops if the body has high levels of uric acid and leads to joint pain, which can be very severe.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can also be caused by an injury or a trauma, such as after a car accident or a fall.

There are cases where pregnancy can lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This occurs due to relaxin, which is a hormone that is released during pregnancy and makes the sacroiliac joint more elastic. This is done as it allows the pelvis to get wider and makes room for the birth of the baby. However, relaxin also decreases the stability of the joints. This, combined with the added pressure due to the weight gain and weight of the baby, can lead to sacroiliac joint pain.

How you walk can also lead to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. If you walk abnormally due to issues with your anatomy, such as one leg being shorter than the other, can all cause issues with the sacroiliac joints.

For more information about Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction treatment or to schedule an appointment with the top pain doctor in Downtown, Brooklyn, and Lower Manhattan, Dr. Raval, please call our office for a consultation and indicate which location you want to visit.

This page was published on Mar 16, 2021, modified on Jul 12, 2021 by Dr. Raj Raval, MD (Pain Management Doctor)

The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.

  • Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

    1. Board Certified
    2. Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Education & training

    1. SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
    2. Rutgers University Fellowship
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