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Sacroiliac joint pain - aftercare

SIJ pain - aftercare; SIJ dysfunction - aftercare; SIJ strain - aftercare; SIJ subluxation - aftercare; SIJ syndrome - aftercare; SI joint - aftercare

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Description

The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is a term used to describe the place where the sacrum and the iliac bones join.

More About Your Problem

The main purpose of the SIJ is to connect the spine and the pelvis. As a result, there is very little movement at this joint.

Major reasons for pain around the SIJ include:

Although SIJ pain can be caused by trauma, this type of injury more often develops over a long period.

What to Expect

Symptoms of SIJ dysfunction include:

To help diagnose an SIJ problem, your health care provider may move your legs and hips around in different positions. You may also need to have x-rays or a CT scan. Your provider may want you to have an injection to the SIJ to accurately locate your pain.

Symptom Relief

Your provider may recommend these steps for the first few days or weeks after your injury or when starting treatment for SIJ pain:

For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these medicines at the store without a prescription.

If this is a chronic problem, your provider may prescribe an injection to help with pain and inflammation. The injection can be repeated over time if needed.

Activity

Keep activity to a minimum. The more time the injury has rest, the better. For support during activity, you can use a sacroiliac belt or lumbar brace.

Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It will help relieve pain and increase strength. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist for exercises to practice.

Here is an example of an exercise for your lower back:

The best way to get rid of SIJ pain is to stick to a care plan. The more you rest, ice, and do exercises, the quicker your symptoms will improve or your injury will heal.

Follow-up

Your provider may need to follow up if the pain is not going away as expected. You may need:

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you have any of the following:

References

Cohen SP, Chen Y, Neufeld NJ. Sacroiliac joint pain: a comprehensive review of epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment. Expert Rev Neurother. 2013;13(1):99-116. PMID: 23253394 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23253394/.

Isaac Z, Brassil ME. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 51.

Placide R, Mazanec DJ. Masqueraders of spinal pathology. In: Steinmetz MP, Benzel EC, eds. Benzel's Spine Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 26.

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Review Date: 11/12/2020  

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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