Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Pain Management Options

If you’ve never had pain in your sacroiliac joint, you probably have no idea what that is or where it is.  At the bottom of and next to the spine is the sacroiliac joint. It is right above the tailbone and just below the lumbar spine. The sacrum is connected by this to the pelvis (iliac crest).

When somebody is having chronic leg and low back pain, it is often diagnosed as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction.  The pain in the leg can be difficult to diagnosis as such because it feels similar to sciatica and sometimes the pain is caused by a lumbar disc herniation. If it is the Sacroiliac Joint, pain management is crucial to the person suffering.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction treatments, more commonly referred to as SI joint pain, are normally conservative. Done without surgery, the focus is to reinstate normal motion in the SI joint. Some of the typical pain management treatments for pain management are:

•    Ice, heat, and rest

Initial pain management treatment will include applying cold packs every fifteen to twenty minutes. This is done to diminish inflammation and the patient is instructed to rest during this time. Dependent upon how intense and sharp the pain, the patient may be advised to continue this treatment for as short as two days and for as long as two weeks.

As the pain eases and the inflammation improves, the patient may be instructed to apply heat in between the cold applications. After inflammation has reduced, the patient can gradually return to their normal activities.

•    Medications

Acetaminophen is the first step of pain management treatment that is recommended by most primary care doctors. They may also recommend the patient have a regimen of anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naproxen. This will reduce any swelling that may be contributing to the patient's discomfort and pain.

•    Chiropractic Therapy

The manual manipulation that can be provided by a chiropractor or an osteopathic doctor has been proven to be highly effective for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. This is especially true when the SI joint is fixed into a wrong position. This is accomplished by several different methods that hypermobile the SI joint like blocking technique, drop technique, side-posture manipulation, and methods that are instrument guided.

•    Braces or Supports

When the SI joint has slack or is hypermobile, a brace that is approximately the same size of a wide belt  will be wrapped around the patient’s waist and pulled snug. This stabilizes the area and has proven to be very helpful for inflamed joints.  As the inflammation calms down, the patient will slowly wear the belt less and less.

Exercise and Physical Therapy

To strengthen SI joint muscles, a patient will be recommended to start a controlled and gradual physical therapy. The goal is to not only strengthen the muscles that are around the sacroiliac joint Abut increase the range of motion too. A gentle and low impact aerobic exercise increases the flow of blood to the area which stimulates the healing. For patients with severe pain, the doctor may recommend water therapy for pain management. Water offers buoyancy for the patient’s body and will reduce the stress on the joint.

•    Sacroiliac Joint Injections

The primary reason for these injections is for the doctor to decide if the SJ is actually the cause of the pain. It also is a form of pain management because it provides the patient immediate pain relief.

Part of the injection is an anesthetic that is injected at the same time as the anti-inflammatory medication. It will help to reduce the inflammation that is around the joint and alleviates the patient’s pain. Afterward, the patient will have immediate pain relief and can start a physical therapy program as well as return to their normal activities.

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