For most of the 20th century, doctors were not focused on the SI joint as a source of chronic lower back pain, so misdiagnosis was – and can still be – common. Know what to share with your doctor and choose a doctor trained in SI joint pain diagnosis and treatment to avoid misdiagnosis.
The History of SI Joint Pain Diagnosis
To understand why SI joint pain can be easily misdiagnosed, it's important to know the history.
For about 70 years, medical providers have turned to the spinal disc as the go-to source for all back pain. It is common for SI joint pain to feel like discogenic or lower back pain, and the literature from 1934 supported that.
Today, however, many orthopedic and neurologic spine surgeons recognize that the disc is not the only source of chronic lower back pain. A provider trained in SI joint diagnosis and treatment can help you appropriately determine whether your pain is from your SI joint or alternate source.
Know What to Share with Your Doctor
To improve your chance of a correct diagnosis -- and treatment! -- follow these steps to start.
- Keep track of when the pain occurs and how intensely you feel it in various locations, including your lower back, buttocks, and legs.
- Tell your doctor the exact location of your pain and level of your functionality. Share your pain journal.
- Tell your doctor about any previous injury that may have either directly affected your pelvis, or caused you to walk asymmetrically, or may relate in any way to your functionality.
- Ask whether your doctor is trained specifically in SI joint dysfunction. If they are not, consider finding one who is.
A provider trained in SI joint pain diagnosis will evaluate all the information you provide, including any history of injury, failed lumbar fusion or other surgery, location of your pain, or problems standing or sleeping. A variety of diagnostic tests, including provocative tests followed by diagnostic injections, are recommended for confirmation of SI joint dysfunction.
Alternative or Multiple Lower Back Pain Causes
SI joint pain may coexist with lumbar spine or hip conditions. Studies have also shown that following lumbar spine surgery, some patients develop problems with their SI joint.12,13,14,15,16 It's not necessarily that you've had a failed lumbar fusion, but that SI joint dysfunction and chronic lower back pain may appear after lumbar fusion, other spine surgery, or hip replacements.
iFuse, SI-BONE's minimally invasive surgical implant, can be safely used after either lumbar or hip surgeries or both.
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.
- Where is my sacroiliac (SI) joint?
- What is sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
- What are some causes for pain in the lower back, buttocks or pelvic region?