What don’t you know about SI joint treatments? Even after doing a lot of research, you might feel like you are missing something. This article is for you.
At SI-BONE, we provide a lot of information about SI joint dysfunction symptoms and diagnosis, the different types of SI joint treatments, and what can cause SI joint pain. But if you suspect you have SI joint pain or you’ve been recently diagnosed with SI joint pain, you’re probably wondering what you don’t know about SI joint treatments.
Six Common Facts About SI Joint Treatments
From our many conversations with SI joint pain patients, we’ve narrowed down the most common facts about SI joint treatment that are most surprising to people:
- Not all doctors are specialists in SI joint treatments
- Keeping a pain and treatment diary can help facilitate treatment
- Treatment starts with non-surgical care
- After 6 months of non-surgical, conservative care, SI joint fusion may be considered
- 82% of people treated with iFuse would have the procedure again
- Find a doctor who specializes in SI joint treatments
1. Not all doctors are specialists in SI joint treatments
If you are experiencing lower back pain, your primary doctor is the first person you may go to. This doctor may refer you to physical therapists, pain management specialists, and other healthcare providers to help manage your pain. If you suspect that your low back pain is caused by your SI joint, consider also requesting that a doctor who is an SI joint specialist is on your team.
If your primary care provider is trained in SI joint pain diagnosis and treatment, great! If not, consider reaching out to one that is near you. Here’s a list of trained SI joint treatment providers who can help.
A surgeon trained in SI joint treatments has expertise in not only the proper diagnostic tests, but also non-surgical treatments and minimally invasive SI joint fusion.
2. Keeping a pain and treatment diary can help facilitate treatment
Your doctor may recommend keeping a lower back pain and treatment diary. A journal like this can include many things:
- A chronological record of everything that you are doing to help diagnose and relieve your pain, including visiting pain management doctors, physical therapists, and SI joint doctors.
- A physical and emotional record of how you feel when you do everyday things, such as sit, sleep, stand for long periods of time, or climb stairs, in order to identify potential pain triggers.
- A physical and emotional record of how you feel before and after any (non-surgical) conservative treatment therapies, including medication, physical therapy, or diagnostic and therapeutic injections.
Bring this pain and treatment diary with you to your doctor’s visits to help you more specifically remember how you feel at different times. This SI joint pain journal can also serve as the documentation that you may need for your health insurance provider to approve treatments like SI joint fusion.
3. Treatment starts with non-surgical care
Once your doctor has confirmed that your lower back pain (which might also include buttock, groin, or leg pain) is caused by SI joint dysfunction, you start a journey of conservative (non-surgical) care. These therapies can include:
- Pain medication
- Therapeutic SI joint injections (different from diagnostic injections)
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
Yoga, massage therapy, SI belts, and radiofrequency ablation may also be recommended. Learn more about non-surgical, conservative therapies. If, after six months of conservative care, your pain is still present or worse, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive SI joint fusion.
Consider talking to a doctor that has been specifically trained in SI joint fusion to discuss your options.
4. After 6 months of conservative, non-surgical care, SI joint fusion may be considered
If you have chronic pain from SI joint dysfunction that has not responded to at least six months of non-surgical care, additional pain management treatments will not likely work for you. At this point, you may consider the iFuse procedure, which is offered by specially trained surgeons.
Almost all U.S. health insurance policies cover sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion, such as the iFuse procedure, as a treatment for SI joint dysfunction. Nearly 50% of patients who are covered for an SI joint fusion procedure are covered for iFuse triangular implants exclusively.
Be sure to talk to a trained surgeon about whether the iFuse procedure is an option for you.
5. 82% of patients who receive iFuse would get it again
After you try conservative care for at least 6 months and these non-surgical treatments fail to relieve your SI joint pain, the next step in your treatment plan may include a minimally invasive SI joint fusion procedure. In these cases, doctors may consider the iFuse procedure as the next course of SI joint treatment.
Published clinical studies show that at 12, 24 and 60 months, 82% of patients were satisfied with their iFuse procedure and indicated that they would have the same surgery again for the same result.70, 80
Consult with a trained surgeon about whether the iFuse procedure is an option for you.
There are risks, including risks common to any surgical procedure, associated with the iFuse procedure. Results may vary, and not all patients may benefit. View risks associated with the iFuse Implant System.
6. Find a doctor who specializes in SI joint treatments
You don’t need to wait to find a doctor that specializes in SI joint treatments. In fact, reaching out to a trained surgeon earlier may provide valuable information. No matter where you are on your SI joint pain management journey — not yet diagnosed, receiving conservative care, pain management plan is not working, or are considering SI joint fusion — contacting a physician who is trained in SI joint treatments can help.
This database includes U.S. surgeons who have been trained on, and actively use, iFuse Technology. Surgeons are provided based on a combination of their proximity to your location and their level of experience with iFuse Technology.