Although it may be difficult for you to identify the exact source of your pain, your doctor can perform simple tests to help determine the cause of your low back problems. Since SI joint pain symptoms often mimic the symptoms associated with other spine conditions, knowing what to look for is crucial. As is the case with most types of pain, not every patient feels it in the same way. However, most patients ultimately diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction typically experience one or a combination of the following SI joint pain symptoms:

Low Back Pain (Below L5):

Back pain is the second most common cause of disability in American adults.1 But people suffering from chronic LBP can present a diagnostic dilemma to the healthcare providers caring for them. The reason? More than 85% of LBP cases are non-specific, meaning they cannot be easily attributed to a specific spinal disease or defect. Added to this dilemma is the lack of consensus on the appropriate clinical methods for accurately evaluating, diagnosing and then treating the pain. However, when correctly identified by an experienced provider, LBP that is caused by a problem with the SI joint typically presents as a dull ache on one side of the lower back, below the 5th lumbar vertebra of the spine (near where many people wear a belt).
The ability of the sacroiliac joint to cause low back pain is well-documented. In fact, multiple clinical studies, spanning decades, indicate that a problem with the SI joint is to blame for the incidence of low back pain in about 20% of patients. Additionally, the sacroiliac joint is the cause of low back pain in about three of every 10 patients who have previously undergone lumbar fusion surgery.2,3

Buttock Pain:

This pain is usually a dull ache on one side of your lower back and may extend or radiate down into the thigh or groin on the affected side.

Pain While Climbing Stairs:

Back pain while climbing stairs is a frequently described symptom in people who are suffering from SI joint pain. Other related activities that may elicit a similar pain response may include climbing hills, vacuuming and other activities that require your pelvis to twist.

Pain When Sitting:

This SI joint pain symptom is often experienced as an ache on one side that causes you to sit on one buttock to relieve the pain occurring on the other side. The pain may intensify with prolonged periods of sitting. The same pain often occurs for people with SI joint dysfunction when trying to lie down on the painful side.

If you are experiencing any of the above SI joint pain symptoms, early diagnosis and treatment by a trained spine specialist is essential in getting to the bottom of the pain and eliminating it, attempting the least invasive options first. In some cases, problems with an SI joint do not respond well enough to non-surgical treatment methods. The SImmetry Sacroiliac Joint Fusion System was created for these patients. Learn more about this innovative technology here.

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Common symptoms
for sacroiliac (SI) joint pain

Ref 1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of disabilities and associated health conditions among adults—
United States, 1999. JAMA. 2001; 285(12):1571-1572

Ref 2. Bernard et al. Recognizing specific characteristics of non-specific low back pain. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research.
April 1987; 217: 266-280

Ref 3. Maigne et al. Sacroiliac Joint Pain After Lumbar Fusion. A Study with Anesthetic Blocks. Eur Spine J (2005) 14: 654-658