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Sacroiliac joint pain, also known as SI joint pain, is a common type of lower back pain that affects many people. The sacroiliac joint is located in the lower back and connects the sacrum to the pelvis. When this joint becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain and discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs. In this article, we will discuss the treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain, including non-medicinal treatment options, injection therapy, and the risks and benefits of these treatments.
What is the sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac joint is a large, weight-bearing joint that connects the sacrum, which is the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine, to the pelvis. It is located in the lower back, near the hips. The joint is surrounded by strong ligaments that provide stability and support. The sacroiliac joint is responsible for transmitting weight and forces between the upper body and the legs. It is essential for maintaining balance and stability during movement.
Causes of sacroiliac joint pain
Sacroiliac joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in the sacroiliac joint.
- Trauma: Injuries such as falls or car accidents can damage the sacroiliac joint and cause pain.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, hormones are released that can cause the ligaments around the sacroiliac joint to relax. This can cause instability in the joint, leading to pain.
- Repetitive stress: Activities such as running or jumping can put stress on the sacroiliac joint and cause pain.
Non-medicinal treatment options
Non-medicinal treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain include:
- Physical therapy: A physical therapist can design a specific exercise program to strengthen the muscles around the sacroiliac joint and improve flexibility.
- Chiropractic manipulation: A chiropractor can perform manual adjustments to realign the sacroiliac joint and reduce pain.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It has been shown to be effective in reducing pain associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. We have clinical staff trained in acupuncture and may be able to offer this in our London East Clinic – get in touch to find out more.
- Massage therapy: Massage can help reduce muscle tension and improve blood flow to the affected area, reducing pain.
- Heat therapy – A wide range of different heat pads and related products claim to help pain management.
Injection therapy involves injecting medication directly into the sacroiliac joint to reduce pain and inflammation. There are several types of injection therapy that can be used for sacroiliac joint pain, including:
- Corticosteroid injections: Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs that can reduce pain and inflammation in the sacroiliac joint.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections: PRP injections involve injecting a concentrated solution of the patient’s own blood platelets into the sacroiliac joint. Platelets contain growth factors that can promote healing and reduce inflammation.
- Prolotherapy injections: Prolotherapy involves injecting a solution of dextrose and other substances into the sacroiliac joint. This can stimulate the body’s natural healing process and promote tissue repair.
Risks and benefits
Like all medical treatments, injection therapy carries some risks and benefits. The risks of injection therapy include:
- Infection: Injection therapy carries a risk of infection at the injection site.
- Allergic reaction: Some patients may have an allergic reaction to the medication used in the injection.
- Bleeding: Injection therapy can cause bleeding at the injection site.
- Nerve damage: In rare cases, injection therapy can cause nerve damage.
The benefits of injection therapy for sacroiliac joint pain include:
- Pain relief: Injection therapy can provide rapid pain relief by reducing inflammation in the sacroiliac joint.
- Improved mobility: By reducing pain and inflammation, injection therapy can improve mobility and range of motion in the affected area.
- Non-surgical option: Injection therapy is a non-surgical option for treating sacroiliac joint pain and can help patients avoid more invasive treatments such as surgery.
In summary, sacroiliac joint pain is a common type of lower back pain that can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis, trauma, pregnancy, and repetitive stress. Non-medicinal treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain include physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Injection therapy, which involves injecting medication directly into the sacroiliac joint, can also be an effective treatment option. Risks of injection therapy include infection, allergic reaction, bleeding, and nerve damage, while the benefits include pain relief, improved mobility, and a non-surgical option for treatment. If you are experiencing sacroiliac joint pain, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you.