SI Joint Pain Diagnosis

How to Get the Right Diagnosis for Your Chronic Low Back Pain Resulting From SI Joint Dysfunction

To appropriately diagnose a dysfunctional sacroiliac (SI) joint and prescribe the right treatment, your doctor will likely require your health history, including symptoms, a physical examination including the SI joint provocative maneuvers, and imaging studies. Your provider will also need to rule out other sources of low back pain such as the hip or spine, so there is less chance of misdiagnosis.

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How to Ensure an Accurate Diagnosis

15 to 30% of chronic low back pain can be attributed to the SI joint,1,2,3,4,5 but without appropriate diagnostic evaluation and interpretation by a health provider trained to evaluate the SI joint, the source can be missed. Get the right treatment by following these steps:

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Causes of Non-Specific Lower Back Pain. 15-30% of chronic low back pain can be attributed to the SI joint.

What is the SI Joint?

The SI joint is located in the posterior pelvis, linking the iliac bones (pelvis) to the sacrum (lowest part of the spine above the tailbone).

The function of the SI joint is to transfer body weight and forces from your upper body through the pelvis to your legs and vice versa. The SI joint plays a crucial role in absorbing shocks, which prevents impact forces during activity from reaching the spine.

Similar to other joints in the body, the SI joint is susceptible to injury, degeneration, inflammation or arthritis, which may result in dysfunction. When this happens, you may feel pain in your buttock and sometimes in the lower back and legs, especially when running, walking, lifting or even lying on the affected side.

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Do you have SI Joint Pain?

Many people with SI joint dysfunction experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvis/buttock pain
  • Hip/groin pain
  • Feeling of leg instability (buckling, giving way)
  • Disturbed sleep patterns due to pain
  • Disturbed sitting patters (unable to sit for long periods, sitting on one side)
  • Pain when moving from sitting to standing
    "x" marks show possible location of pain

    Do you have SI Joint Pain?

    Many people with SI joint dysfunction experience the following symptoms:

    • Lower back pain
    • Sensation of lower extremity pain, numbness, tingling or weakness
    • Pelvis/Buttock Pain
    • Hip/groin pain
    • Feeling of leg instability
    • Disturbed Sleep
    • Disturbed Sitting
    • Pain, especially from sitting to standing
    Fortin and pelvis 1

    Is the SI Joint a Source of your Pain?

    To determine if the SI joint is the source of your pain, you will need to undergo some initial tests. First, your doctor should ask you to point to where it hurts (Fortin Finger Test). In addition, X-rays, CT scans, and/or MRIs may be helpful in the SI joint diagnosis.

    Your doctor may recommend a diagnostic injection to assess whether it temporarily helps reduce your pain. If there is a significant reduction, the SI joint may be source of discomfort.


    It’s the SI Joint – Now What?

    Once the SI joint is confirmed as the source of your symptoms, you can now begin treatment. Non-surgical treatment options include:

    • Physical Therapy
    • Oral medications
    • Chiropractic treatments
    • Therapeutic injections
    • SI belt
    • RF ablation

    If these treatment options don’t provide the desired lasting relief, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery.


    Questions & Answers

    These “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) were created to answer some of the most common questions about the sacroiliac joint and the iFuse Implant System.

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