Many people experience back pain, but the causes and other symptoms associated with back problems can vary widely. One reason you might experience lower back pain is because of the sacroiliac (SI) joint. Pain management specialist Dr. Jeffrey Epstein is a neurosurgeon who focuses on finding minimally invasive ways to effectively treat back, neck and spine pain. He could diagnose SI issues, and SI joint injections can identify and treat pain caused by the SI joints.
Function of the SI Joint
The SI joints are towards the bottom of the back and connect the spine with the pelvic bones. These small joints are necessary to balance the weight of the upper body, and SI joints absorb the weight and transfer it to the legs and hips.
Symptoms of SI pain
When an SI joint is irritated, you might experience pain in the thighs, groin, legs or buttocks. If the pain is only located on one side, this is a good indicator that an SI joint is to blame.
An SI joint may become inflamed due to a sports injury, and jogging could also take a toll on these joints. Those with arthritis and pregnant women could also start experiencing SI pain, and women suffer more from SI joint pain in general than men do.
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If you have an uneven stride when walking, this could put more pressure on one of the SI joints and cause pain.
Back pain and other symptoms might be originating from another source if none of these things apply to you. However, one could also feel pain related to the SI joints when the ligaments surrounding the joint are damaged. Seeking medical attention is the best way to figure out the reason for your back pain.
The Injection Process
Joint injections are a relatively routine, quick procedure that takes between 20-30 minutes. Using x-ray imaging, an anesthetic is injected into a SI joint. If the pain recedes, this also confirms that the SI joint was the problem. Along with the anesthetic, cortisone might also be injected to reduce joint inflammation.
What to Expect
If pain stems from the SI joint, instant relief should occur when injected with the anesthetic. The anesthetic will only last for a few hours but is necessary to accurately diagnosis one’s condition. The cortisone should provide pain relief that starts two to four days after the injection. This treatment should last for multiple months, and follow up injections can be used if inflammation persists. During a period of six months, one could have three injections that are spaced out over this time frame.
Injections are only one way to treat sacroiliac joint pain, and it is important to remember that pain caused by the SI joint or another body part is not something you have to live with. Injections or other procedures could provide relief, and Dr. Epstein is available to help you find the right solutions for your lower back problems.