Treatment of SI Joint Pain

When it comes to treatment of SI joint pain, the great news today is that there are plenty of options. Each is delivered with the primary goal of relieving pain and improving the quality of life for those who are suffering. But how do you know which one will relieve your pain? Because the most effective SI joint pain treatment depends on how the individual responds to it, it is often necessary to create a customized care plan in order to identify and in some cases try, a combination of treatments. But no matter the choice, SI joint pain treatment is generally pursued using the most conservative and least invasive options first.

The first SI joint pain treatment suggested to most patients is rest and ice/cold pack therapy on the affected side in 15 to 20 minute intervals, especially when symptoms are acute or the onset of pain is sudden.

For those suffering the longer term effects of SI joint pain, conservative treatments can range from SI joint belts and medication, to more involved methods including SI joint injections. If these methods do not provide relief, your physician may consider SI joint surgery. The best option for you will depend a lot on exactly how the condition is affecting you. Do you have pain that stops you from living life normally? Have you quit activities you once loved because they are too painful now? When it comes to pain, no two people experience it the same way. So the treatment for SI joint pain that is right for someone else may be very different from the one that is best for you.

Common SI Joint Pain Treatments

SI Joint Belts
An SI Joint Belt is prescribed by your physician to immobilize (keep from movement) your SI joint. Used to stabilize SI joints that aren’t functioning properly, Sacral or SI belts may be used as a treatment to help reduce pain caused by the SI joint.

In addition to other SI joint pain treatments, your doctor might prescribe a course of treatment using a class of medications called NSAIDs. NSAID stands for Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. Commonly known NSAIDs include aspirin and ibuprofen.

Physical Therapy
Customized SI joint pain treatment programs designed by a physical therapist for your specific concerns may include massage, stretching exercises and heat/ice therapy to compliment other treatment aspects prescribed by your doctor.

Chiropractic Care
Some patients have reported benefiting from specific chiropractic treatments for SI joint pain. These methods can include spinal manipulation or spinal mobilization. Both are intended to relieve pressure and swelling on the affected nerves because they are what cause the SI joint pain.

SI Joint Injections
SI joint injections may also be used at times to either diagnose or as a treatment for SI joint pain. Although they can be effective in providing pain relief, it is usually temporary. And it isn’t recommended the injections be repeated more than three times per year. But when SI joint injections do provide enough relief, a physician usually combines them with a course of physical therapy.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that blocks pain signals by destroying the nerves surrounding the SI joint, with the goal of pain relief.

SI Joint Fusion
When less invasive SI joint pain treatment options fail to provide patients with the relief they need to live normal, active and pain-free lives, surgery might be recommended. The goal of fusion surgery is to resolve SI joint dysfunction by eliminating motion between the iliac or pelvic bone and the sacrum part of the spine so that it is stabilized and no longer causes pain.

If you are suffering from SI joint dysfunction, you are not alone. A variety of SI joint pain treatment options are available to relieve the pain. The goal is get you back to living the pain-free life you want. Knowing which option is right for you will depend largely on a precise diagnosis and on open, honest communication with an expert physician who specializes in conditions affecting the SI joint, and the treatments to help relieve them.

Options for difficult-to-treat SI joint dysfunction

1. Eck, Jason C. “Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention by” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.