Often misdiagnosed as lower back pain or hip pain, sacroiliac joint pain develops from damage or injury to the sacroiliac joint.

At Advanced Interventional Pain Management — with offices in Texarkana, Hot Springs, Little Rock, El Dorado, Arkadelphia, and Mena, Arkansas — our pain management specialists, Dr. Jacob Abraham and Dr. Ryan Stuckey — are experts at finding the source and cause of pain conditions.

So, what is the sacroiliac (SI) joint and why does it hurt? Let us explain.

About your sacroiliac joint

Your sacroiliac joint forms the connection between the iliac bones in your hips and the sacrum of your spine. Those dimples of skin in your lower back just above your buttocks mark the location of your SI joint.

This joint is held tightly together by strong ligaments and muscles. Though these have some — albeit limited — motion, their primary job is to support and stabilize your body when walking and lifting. They also act as shock absorbers during these activities.

Causes of sacroiliac joint pain

Though joint pain is more common in joints with greater movement, damage to the SI joint can lead to pain.

Common causes of sacroiliac joint pain include:

  • Traumatic injury
  • Arthritis
  • Overuse
  • Pregnancy
  • Infection

Though not a joint with significant range of motion, your SI joint is a synovial joint with free nerve endings. Damage to the joint irritates these nerves, causing the pain.

Symptoms of SI joint pain are a lot like sciatica. You may feel discomfort in your lower back or buttocks that radiates into your hip, groin, and thigh on one side of your body. You may also experience tingling or numbness in your leg.

Your pain may worsen when sitting, sleeping, walking, or climbing stairs, making it hard for you to find any activity that alleviates your discomfort.

Diagnosing sacroiliac joint pain

Because SI joint pain may mimic other pain conditions, it often goes misdiagnosed. In order to get relief from your pain condition, it’s vital you get the right diagnosis.

If we suspect your SI joint is the source of your pain, we perform a sacroiliac joint injection. This injection contains a local anesthetic and corticosteroid. If your SI joint is the source of your pain, you should experience a significant improvement in your pain after the injection.

Once we determine the source of your pain, we focus on treating the underlying cause. For an acute injury, we may continue to provide SI joint injections as needed while you participate in physical therapy.

For chronic SI joint pain, we may recommend radiofrequency sacroiliac joint nerve ablation. During this procedure, we use radiofrequency energy to destroy the free nerves in the joint causing your pain so you get long-term relief.

Sacroiliac joint pain may develop from an acute injury or degenerative changes to the joint that occur with age. No matter the cause, we can provide treatment to ease your discomfort. Call the office that’s most convenient to you or request an appointment online today.