Chronic aching lower back?

It could be your “sacroiliac.”

Sacroiliac joint problems are a common yet frequently overlooked cause of low back pain. In fact, 21% of patients who see a doctor with low back pain have a sacroiliac joint problem.

You may suffer from this problem if you’ve had persistent pain in your lower back or buttocks, or pain going down your leg, that has escaped diagnosis. Perhaps you’ve had disc surgery, but you continue to hurt. Maybe you’ve tried lots of different treatments, including physical therapy or chiropractic, but nothing really helps or brings relief for long. Or maybe you’ve been told, “The pain is in your head.”

There’s an excellent chance your pain is real. Your sacroiliac joint may be causing it.

Discs have gotten the attention

For the past 50 years, the vast majority of research and writing done on low back pain has focused on disc problems. Physical therapists and chiropractors have recognized that the sacroiliac joint is a source of pain, but orthopaedists have tended to neglect it.

Sacroiliac joint troubles are hard to pin down because x-rays often don’t show anything suggesting a problem. That, of course, doesn’t mean no problem exists.

In our practice, if we strongly suspect a sacroiliac joint problem, we will send the patient to an interventional radiologist, who will help us make a definitive diagnosis.

During the diagnostic procedure, a CT (“Cat”) Scan is performed and the radiologist injects anesthetic into a portion of the sacroiliac joint. If it makes the pain go away, then we know that’s where the pain is coming from. If not, then the pain is coming from somewhere else.

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