The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint in the bony pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis, which are joined by strong ligaments. In humans, the sacrum supports the spine and is supported in turn by an ilium on each side. The joint is a strong, weight bearing synovial joint with irregular elevations and depressions that produce interlocking of the two bones. The human body has two sacroiliac joints, one on the left and one on the right, that often match each other but are highly variable from person to person.
The back pain most surgeons won't find CNN - September 18, 2013
Studies have found that 20 to 25% of all chronic lower back pain comes not from the spine but from the sacroliac, or SI Joint, which bears and transfers weight and movement from your upper body to your legs. When the ligaments wear out and the SI joint becomes unstable, it can generate a similar kind of sharp back pain -- or sciatica-like pain down your leg -- as a ruptured disc.
When you know to look at the SI joint, finding out whether it's the source of the pain is usually pretty easy. If an injection of the local anesthetic Lidocaine into the joint produces temporary pain relief, then that's likely where the problem resides. If so, all the treatments previously misdirected at the spine -- chiropractic, physical therapy and medication -- can be aimed at the proper target.
A new, minimally invasive procedure is now available that uses small titanium implants to stabilize the joint. The tiny incisions mean patients recover much more quickly. The procedure is being done regularly here at UCLA and at other top spine centers around the country.
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