Sacroiliac Joint Pain Treatment in New Jersey
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can cause chronic pain in the lower back or legs. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics (CNSO) offers conservative care, steroid injections as well as surgical solutions for sacroiliitis or any cause of sacroiliac (SI) joint pain. With an award-winning team of board-certified pain doctors, neurosurgeons, and orthopedic spine surgeons, CNSO serves patients in Northern New Jersey and throughout the tri-state area.
What Is a Sacroiliac Joint?
Attached to the last vertebrae of the lumbar spine is the triangular-shaped sacrum of the spine. The point of connection between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvic bone is called the sacroiliac joint. There is a sacroiliac joint on the right side of the sacrum and the other is on the left. Both sacroiliac (SI) joints support the weight of a person’s upper body while sitting, standing and walking. They also serve as shock absorbers during walking, running, or lifting heavy objects.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Instability
Inflammation in the sacroiliac joints can be a major source of chronic pain for some patients. SI joint inflammation can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Injury: Repetitive stress injuries caused by certain activities, such as contact sports, weightlifting, or jobs that require heavy lifting, can damage the SI joints.
- Pregnancy: Ligaments loosen during pregnancy leading to joint instability. Including the SI joint.
- Prior surgery: If a patient has had surgery on their pelvis or lower back in the past, additional pressure on the SI joints may lead to pain.
Wear and tear on the SI joints also can be caused by other medical conditions, making it important to consult with the physicians at CNSO for an official diagnosis and the corresponding proper treatment. Some of these conditions may include:
- Sacroiliitis: This is an inflammatory condition causing pain in one or both SI joints.
- Scoliosis: An abnormal curvature of the spine, this condition can cause back pain and leg numbness or weakness.
- Arthritis: This is a common condition that can occur from natural wear and tear on joints over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and inflammation.
Signs and Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Depending on how sacroiliac joint inflammation or instability affects each individual, signs of the condition may mimic lower lumbar spine related pain or hip pain. The doctors at CNSO know how to decipher the origins of the pain by hearing a patient’s symptoms and evaluating their physical exam. Some of the most common symptoms of SI joint instability may include:
- Pain in the lower back, pelvis, buttocks, or hips
- Difficulty sitting for long periods
- Pain when moving from a seated to a standing position
- Buckling or instability in the legs
- Numbness or tingling feelings in the legs
- Difficulty sleeping
After the diagnosis of SI joint related pain has been made, the first step is to try conservative care options. More often than not, conservative care is all that is required. Conservative care includes NSAIDs and physical therapy which should include home exercises. In addition to strategies such as physical therapy, other conservative treatments may include:
Sacroiliac Joint Injection
A sacroiliac joint injection can relieve symptoms of back pain associated with SI joint dysfunction. It is generally recommended for patients who do not respond to physical therapy and can be given in-office or at a surgical center. After applying a local anesthetic, a doctor will safely inject steroid medication and an anesthetic directly into the SI joint. The procedure takes just a few minutes, and some patients experience pain relief immediately. Patients usually are monitored for about 30 minutes afterward and then can be driven home.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses heat to prevent nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. This procedure uses a radiofrequency needle to destroy a tiny portion of the nerve in the SI joint. Patients may experience short-term or long-term pain relief after RFA.
SI Joint Fusion Procedure
SI joint fusion is considered only if non-surgical treatment options have provided temporary relief but have failed to provide significant long-term pain relief. Joint fusion, also known as arthrodesis, surgically immobilizes the SI joint. CNSO neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons have significant experience performing SI joint fusions.
Patients with chronic or debilitating SI joint pain may be candidates for the CornerLoc SI Joint Fusion System. CNSO pain management doctors can also offer an innovative treatment method called the CornerLoc SI Joint Fusion System that is specifically designed to provide optimal joint stabilization with a minimally invasive approach. The typical lateral approach to SI joint fusion, CornerLoc uses a posterior approach to insert two small grafts that immediately stabilize the SI joint. The procedure requires just two minor incisions in the lower back. This method reduces the risk of neural complications that can occur with a lateral approach. Benefits of CornerLoc include:
- Shorter surgery time
- Less blood loss
- Minimal surgical trauma
- Faster recovery timeline
Most patients are up on their feet and walking around within a few hours after the procedure is complete. During the first two weeks after surgery, patients should ambulate as much as possible, maintain their regular diet, and take pain medication as prescribed by their doctor. Patients should avoid driving for two weeks and avoid lifting any weight for six weeks. Most patients return to work or school and can resume many normal activities after two weeks of recovery. However, patients should avoid activities such as running and jumping for twelve weeks. The CNSO’s medical staff will provide detailed aftercare instructions for each patient.
Receive Comprehensive Back and Spine Care in Northern NJ
CNSO is New Jersey’s most comprehensive brain and spine care center. The doctors there have been recognized as Top Docs for many years. CNSO has neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, pain control doctors, physical therapists, and physiatrists, all within each center enabling them to confirm the diagnosis and corresponding treatment conveniently for each patient. The caring and knowledgeable medical team use the latest technology and techniques to create a personalized treatment plan for each patient.
CNSO’s expert spine surgeons offer the most advanced treatment option for patients suffering from SI joint instability. The CNSO team serves patients in Northern New Jersey and the surrounding area with multiple convenient locations in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic Counties. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact CNSO today.