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SI Joint Dysfunction Specialist

Steven J Svabek, DO, PA

Orthopaedic Surgeon & Spine Surgeon located in Coral Springs, FL

Lower back pain affects many people throughout their lives. Chronic lower back pain can quickly become crippling, affecting your ability to work and participate in everyday activities. Most patients believe that lower back pain comes from their lumbar spine; however, the sacroiliac joint is another common source of back pain. Steven J. Svabek, DO, PA, focuses on allowing his patients to live a life free of pain. Call the office today or book an appointment online if you’re in the Coral Springs, Florida, area and experience chronic lower back pain. Dr. Svabek is ready to help you take your first step toward a life free of pain.

SI Joint Dysfunction Q & A

What is the sacroiliac joint?

Located in the back of the pelvis, the sacroiliac (SI) joint links the iliac bones — pelvis to the sacrum, the lowest part of the spine. The SI joint’s job is to stabilize the pelvis and hold up the upper body by transferring your weight as your legs move.

When you’re walking, running, or participating in any activity, the SI joint works as a shock absorber between your upper and lower body.

What is SI joint dysfunction?

The joints at the bottom of the spine connect the sacrum to the pelvis (the SI joints). When they move incorrectly, they can cause lower back pain, leg pain, sciatica, and inflammation in the joints. This is called sacroiliitis.

SI joint dysfunction is hard to diagnose since it’s frequently mistaken for other causes of lower back pain.

What are the common symptoms of SI joint dysfunction?

Patients with SI joint dysfunction commonly feel pain most severely when sitting, moving from sitting to standing, and climbing steps. Other symptoms of SI joint dysfunction include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs
  • Pain in the pelvis or buttocks
  • Pain in the hips and groin
  • Feelings of instability in the leg(s), as though your leg might buckle

People with SI joint dysfunction also have trouble sleeping due to pain.

What causes SI joint dysfunction?

The two leading causes of SI joint dysfunction are trauma and degeneration. SI joint trauma can be caused by car accidents, falls, pregnancy, and lifting heavy objects. Deterioration of the SI joint can be due to previous spinal surgeries or differences in the lengths of your legs that put long-term stress on the joint. Infection of the SI joint and osteoarthritis are other causes.

How is SI joint dysfunction treated?

SI joint dysfunction can be treated in several ways. The first step is to limit or stop any activities that cause acute pain and consult your doctor.

Many doctors begin by recommending over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) to reduce pain and inflammation. You should always check with a doctor before taking any medication.

For some patients, over-the-counter medications aren’t enough, and your doctor can then prescribe a medication like a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are taken orally or injected into the SI joint.

Your doctor might also prescribe physical therapy to ease the stress on your SI joints. Therapy exercises help improve your range of motion by stretching and strengthening. These exercises target the SI joint and the abdominal and back muscles.

Dr. Svabek might also prescribe an SI joint brace to hold your joints tightly together. Electrical stimulation can be used to restore the nerves and muscle tissue around your joints.

If medications and physical therapy aren’t enough to remedy your SI joint dysfunction, there is surgery. The most common surgery for SI joint dysfunction is joint fusion surgery. This surgery eliminates the movement of the SI joint by implanting screws or rods and possibly grafting together the ilium and the sacrum.

If you suffer from SI joint dysfunction and are looking at surgery to ease your pain, call Dr. Svabek today or book an appointment online.