SACROILIAC JOINT INJECTION

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Treatment Texas

Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, also known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction sacroiliitis, is a painful condition affecting the sacroiliac joints. Because these joints are at a crucial spot where the lower spine and pelvis meet, the pain radiates throughout the buttocks and low back, and often into one or both legs. The Texas Pain Care team in the Missouri City, Sugar Land, and Houston areas are committed to helping those patients end their SI joint pain, all with the help of minimally-invasive injections. Explore effective Sacroiliac Joint Pain Treatment in Texas.

WHAT IS SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN?

The sacroiliac joint is a major weight-bearing joint, primarily due to its location at the base of the spine and pelvis. SI joint motion allows us to walk upright, to lift, and to carry. The weight from the upper body is felt throughout the spine and through this joint before making its way to the pelvis, hips, legs and feet. Because the area of the pelvis is rich with muscle and ligaments, as well as nerve endings and roots, and is used for basically all mobility functions for the body, there is great opportunity for damage. When the joint becomes inflamed, either due to trauma or a medical condition, the nerves become irritated, leading to low back pain. The pain typically worsens after long periods of sitting down, but does lessen with movement. 

WHAT CAUSES SACROILIAC PAIN?

Due to the fact that the sacroiliac joint is involved with almost every movement a person might make throughout the day (i.e. walking, running, sitting, twisting, etc.), there is a great chance not only for overuse but also for trauma. When the joint becomes inflamed from overuse, it can lead to joint changes and painful symptoms. 

The main causes of sacroiliac pain include:

Trauma: and sudden impact, including a slip and fall and motor vehicle accident

Pregnancy or recent childbirth: weight gain, hormonal changes that affect the ligaments, pelvic changes from giving birth, and loose ligaments after childbirth

Previous lower back surgery: multi-level and single-level surgeries can displace pressure to the sacroiliac joint

Gait issues: leg discrepancy (one leg is shorter or less strong than the other) or scoliosis can cause uneven pressure placed on the joint, leading to an increase of wear and tear, and eventually pain

Repetitive, intense activities: heaving lifting, high contact sports and labor-intensive work can place undue stress on the joint, as well as jobs or lifestyles that require sitting or standing for extended periods of time

Arthritis: osteoarthritis causes pain and restrictions in movement in the low back and hip area

In some cases, sacroiliac joint pain can’t be pinpointed to one specific cause or event, making it even that much more important to see a pain management specialist who can properly diagnose and treat the specific condition causing the pain. 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN?

If you feel intense pain in the buttock, low back and lower leg that worsens with prolonged positions, you might have sacroiliac joint pain. The common symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain can be a combination of: 

Low back pain that feels dull or achy and ranges between moderate to severe. This radiating pain can be felt on one or both sides of the body.

Pain that is felt in the buttock, groin, hips, lower back and possibly side of the thigh.

Sciatic-like, stabbing pain that could include numbness and tingling, felt in the buttocks and/or back of the thigh(s).

Limited range of motion and stiffness, making activities such as climbing stairs or bending difficult.

Increased pain when added pressure is put on the sacroiliac joint, most often by running, walking up stairs, or putting pressure on one side of the body (lying on your side, for example, or placing more weight on one leg than the other when standing).

Instability in the pelvis or lower back, creating a sensation that feels like you might buckle when standing, walking, or transition from standing to sitting or vice versa.

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WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN?

Because there is not one single test that can diagnose sacroiliac joint pain, it’s important that your pain management specialist utilize a comprehensive approach in his/her diagnostic approach. Once medical history has been reviewed, a physical examination, and orthopedic tests are performed, he/she will then utilize a sacroiliac joint injection to help identify if the sacroiliac joint is the cause of the pain. This injection is just one part of the treatment process, with a goal to reduce pain and inflammation. 

The injection, which consists of a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic, is placed into the sacroiliac joint at the location of the irritated nerve roots, working to numb the nerves in the area. The steroid and anesthetic will also spread throughout the joint and surrounding areas, reducing inflammation and irritation. If the injection relieves pain, the sacroiliac joint can be confirmed as the pain source. The entire procedure is relatively pain free and can be completed from start to finish in around 15 minutes. 

While sacroiliac joint injections are a popular option for patients who are experiencing sacroiliac joint pain and who want to achieve pain-free mobility, it is just one part of the puzzle. There are a wide variety of treatment options to help patients mitigate their pain, and include: 

Sacroiliac joint traumeel injections: A great replacement medication for steroids, traumeel injections are a homeopathic natural anti-inflammatory medication that has very limited side effects

Medial and lateral branch blocks: Both the medial (spine) and lateral (low back) branches run through the sacroiliac joint, so by blocking these nerves, the pain management specialist can both diagnose and treat the source of pain. Also, if a medial or lateral branch block is successful for remedying pain, then the patient could be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation.

Radiofrequency ablation: this safe and effective treatment option provides extended relief by destroying nerves that send pain signals. Most patients enjoy relief from pain from three months to three years.

Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TENS) unit: a TENS unit helps relieve pain by replacing the feeling of pain with a mild electrical current that provides a tingling or buzzing sensation. The unit is worn on top of the skin above the location of pain, and the patient is able to control intensity and duration.

Spinal cord stimulation: Also utilizing electrical currents, spinal cord stimulation provides pain relief by placing a small electrode under the skin in the epidural space of the spine. The patient can monitor the level of stimulation to achieve the intended level of pain relief.

If the level of pain is not life-altering, many patients might consider taking advantage of over-the-counter medications, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. While there are no concrete methods to prevent sacroiliac joint pain, you can lessen your chances of development by maintaining a healthy wait, practicing good posture, exercising regularly, and maintaining proper lifting techniques. 

Sacroiliac joint injections are generally safe with a very low chance of any serious complications. Standard risks include bleeding or infection at the injection site, temporary increase in pain and high blood sugar levels. 

If you believe your low back pain might be due to sacroiliac joint issues, please reach out to the Texas Pain Care team of pain management specialists today. We are here to help you get comfortably back on your feet. Schedule an appointment today with a team member in the Houston, Sugarland or Missouri City areas. 

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