SI Joint Dysfunction / Degenerative Sacroiliitis

SI Joint Disruption / Degenerative Sacroiliitis

Low back pain is a common complaint of millions of people and the pain may linger for months or even years. For decades, the sacroiliac joint (or SI Joint) was suspected to be a common cause of low back or leg pain however the standard diagnostic tests of the time left doctors skeptical. Over the last twenty to thirty years, much of the medical profession has focused on discogenic pain caused from herniated discs and degenerative disc disease as the common cause for low back or leg pain. Still to this day SI Joint conditions may still be overlooked as very few healthcare professionals are trained to identify the specific symptoms that indicate SI Joint Disruption / Degenerative Sacroiliitis.

The SI joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones (the two large bones that make up the pelvis). The SI joints connect the spine to the pelvis. While most of the bones of the spine are mobile, the sacrum is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and do not move. The sacrum and the iliac bones are held together by a collection of strong ligaments. There is very little motion at the SI joints.

Causes

One of the most common causes of SI joint conditions is degenerative arthritis. Like other joints in the body, the SI joints have a layer of cartilage covering the bone. This allows for some movements and acts as a shock absorber between bones. Then the cartilage becomes damages or worn away the bones begin to rub against each other. When bones rub against each other, degenerative arthritis occurs.

Another common cause of SI Joint Degeneration is pregnancy. This is believed to be because of the possible changes in posture, weight and walking pattern as well as the relaxation of ligaments holding the SI joints together in preparation for childbirth.

Any condition that may alter a normal walking pattern may cause SI Joint dysfunction (such as having uneven leg length, injuries to the legs or feet that may cause a permanent limp or altered gait).

Symptoms

The most common symptom of SI joint Degeneration or Degenerative Sacroiliitis is pain. Most people experience lower back pain or pain in the back of the hips. However pain may also be present in the groin or the thighs. Most patients say that pain is typically worse when standing or walking and improves when they lie down. Patients may also experience stiffness and a burning sensation in the pelvis due to inflammation and arthritis in the SI joint.

Diagnosis

Because SI Joint conditions can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms may mimic other common conditions and does not usually show up on X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, a specially trained expert in the field such as our experts at SCCNS must perform a physical examination to evaluate the SI Joints and how they are functioning in relation to the rest of the body.

**SCCNS in conjunction with SI-Bone is now conducting a study using the FDA approved iFuse Implant System. Please call Nichole Martinez at SCCNS to see if you are a potential study candidate. For more inform you can also visit www.si-bone.com or www.clinicaltrials.gov

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