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Home > Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction FAQ – Part II

Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction FAQ – Part II

Mark W. McFarland, MDMark W. McFarland, DO

This is part two of a three-part FAQ providing detailed information on sacroiliac joint dysfunction which answers frequently asked questions about this condition, its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and available treatments.

What are the symptoms of Sacroiliac joint dysfunction?:

The most seen indications are:

  • lower back pain, usually on one side
  • sensations in the lower extremities
    • pain, numbness, tingling
    • weakness
    • pelvis/buttock pain
    • hip/groin pain
    • feeling of leg instability (buckling, giving way)
  • disturbed sleep patterns,
  • disturbed sitting patterns (unable to sit for long periods, sitting on one side)
  • pain going from sitting to standing

How is Sacroiliac joint dysfunction diagnosed? 

A thorough physical examination, diagnostic x-rays to rule out other  mechanical issues, asking lots of questions about your medical history, previous injuries or back pain history, childbirth, etc.  If your symptoms and examination all point me in that direction, I may suggest a diagnostic injection into your SI joint to confirm my diagnosis.               

The diagnostic injection will be given into the SI joint containing a small amount of numbing medication such as Marcaine or lidocaine to ascertain if temporary pain relief will be achieved.  The pain relief, if felt, will only be temporary, lasting for a few hours. If the patient does feel relief from their pain, then the SI joint is the problem causing the pain.  If pain relief isn’t achieved, then I need to keep investigating to find out what issue is causing the problem. 

What treatments are used for Sacroiliac joint dysfunction? 

Conservative SI Joint Dysfunction Treatments

I will start all treatments for SI joint dysfunction in this way, with the goal of reducing irritation in the joint and returning the joint to normal motion and function.

  • Ice or heat intermittently
  • activity modification/rest
  • OTC NSAIDS or oral anti-inflammatory/steroid
  • Physical Therapy & manual manipulation
  • Gentle exercise
  • Bracing

In part three of the FAQ, I’ll answer questions about interventional and surgical treatments for SI joint dysfunction.

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