Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is the source of 10-27% of cases of chronic low back pain. Since the two conditions closely mimic one another, it’s important to see Todd Koppel, MD, at Garden State Pain Management. Dr. Koppel specializes in accurately diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction and determining customized treatment that gets to the source of your pain. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Clifton, New Jersey, or use the online booking feature.
The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the lower portion of your spine with each hip bone. The name of the joint comes from the last section of your spine, called the sacrum, and the large, broad bone that forms the top of your pelvis, called the ilium.
Your SI joint normally has very limited movement. The joint acts as a shock absorber as it transfers pressure from your upper body to your hips and legs.
When you have SI joint dysfunction, you have pain because the joint either moves too much and causes hip instability, or it moves too little. Lack of movement gradually leads to increasing immobility.
SI joint dysfunction affects the way you move your spine and pelvis, leading to pain in your lower back, hip, and buttocks.
When your joint is hypermobile (too much movement), the pain may radiate to your lower hip, groin, or upper thigh. On the flip side, hypomobility (too little movement) may cause pain that radiates down your leg, similar to sciatica.
You may also experience numbness or tingling in the affected leg. The pain of SI joint dysfunction is often worse when you move from sitting to standing and after sitting for a long time.
It takes an experienced physician like Dr. Koppel to accurately diagnose SI joint dysfunction, for two reasons. First, sacroiliac joint pain can be caused by SI joint dysfunction and numerous underlying health conditions, including arthritis, gout, fracture, infection, uneven leg length, and pregnancy.
And second, SI joint dysfunction causes the same type of lower back pain that’s associated with common spine conditions, such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis.
Dr. Koppel performs a diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection because standard imaging tests like MRIs seldom show whether the problem is with your SI joint. Using a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy to guide needle placement, Dr. Koppel injects local anesthesia into the SI joint. If the injection relieves your pain, it confirms the problem is in the SI joint.
Your treatment begins with traditional measures such as physical therapy and gentle low-impact aerobic exercise to increase blood flow and promote healing. When your pain persists, Dr. Koppel may recommend another SI joint injection.
When the injection is used for treatment, it contains a local anesthetic for quick pain relief and a steroid. The steroid significantly reduces inflammation, which provides longer-lasting relief.
If you have ongoing back, hip, or leg pain, call the office or use online booking to schedule a thorough examination at Garden State Pain Management.