UNDERSTANDING SI JOINT SURGERY: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
San Bernardino SI joint surgery is a procedure that is done to alleviate pain caused by the sacroiliac joint. SI joint pain is often misdiagnosed as low back pain, and it is estimated that up to 25% of patients with low back pain actually have SI joint pain. In this article, we will discuss the anatomy of the SI joint, the common causes of SI joint pain, and what to expect during and after SI joint surgery.
ANATOMY OF THE SI JOINT
The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is located in the pelvis and connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) to the ilium (the large, fan-shaped bone that makes up the upper part of the pelvis). The SI joint is responsible for transferring weight and forces from the upper body to the lower body. The joint is surrounded by strong ligaments and muscles, which help to stabilize the joint.
CAUSES OF SI JOINT PAIN
SI joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Trauma or injury to the joint
- Pregnancy, due to the increased stress on the SI joint from the weight of the growing fetus
- Arthritis or degeneration of the joint
- Abnormalities in the alignment or movement of the joint
DIAGNOSIS OF SI JOINT PAIN
Diagnosing SI joint pain can be challenging because it often presents as low back pain, which can be caused by a variety of conditions. Your doctor will perform a physical exam to assess the SI joint, and may also order imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to further evaluate the joint.
NON-SURGICAL TREATMENT OPTIONS
Before considering surgery, your doctor will likely recommend non-surgical treatment options such as:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding the SI joint
- Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation
- Sacroiliac joint injections to provide temporary pain relief
WHEN SURGERY IS NECESSARY
If non-surgical treatment options do not provide relief, surgery may be necessary. The goal of SI joint surgery is to stabilize the joint and reduce pain. There are several surgical options for SI joint pain, including:
- SI joint fusion, where the joint is fused together using screws and a bone graft
- SI joint decortication, where the joint surface is roughened to stimulate bone growth and fusion
- SI joint denervation, where the nerves that transmit pain signals from the joint are ablated
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AND AFTER SI JOINT SURGERY
SI joint surgery is typically done under general anesthesia, and the procedure takes about one to two hours to complete. After surgery, you will need to limit your activities and avoid putting weight on the affected leg for several weeks. Physical therapy may be recommended to help you regain strength and mobility.
Overall, SI joint surgery can be an effective treatment option for patients with chronic SI joint pain. If you are experiencing low back pain, it is important to talk to your doctor to determine if SI joint pain may be the cause.