An often-overlooked cause of back pain, sacroiliac joints may become inflamed to the point where quality of life is impacted. Located next to the base of the spine, SI joints support upper body weight while standing, walking, or running and transform this burden to the legs. Non-surgical treatment for back pain depends on the level of discomfort experienced, which can range from dull to sharp.
When pain is first experienced, some initial rest can give the joint and adjacent tissues time to rest. Initial rest should be limited to a few days to prevent muscle weakness.
Modification of Activities
Identifying potential triggers can help patients know what activities to avoid or modify. Modification can also include changing how weight is shifted while making certain movements.
Ice and Heat
Since the source of SI joint pain is often inflammation, the application of heat or ice is often effective. In the form a heating pad, gel pack, or ice pack, hot and cold applications should be done in 15-20 minute intervals off and on throughout the day.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen are among the medications often recommended to manage SI joint pain. Strong pain meds are usually discouraged to minimize the risk of addiction. Injections may also be used.
Chiropractic sessions treat pain through targeted manipulation. Side-posture manipulation and the drop technique are some of the manipulations chiropractors often use to ease SI joint pain.
Braces or Supports
Inflamed SI joints can be eased with a brace that looks like a wide belt around the waist. The brace or support is only used until inflammation subsides.
PT or exercise can be highly individualized and tailored to physical capabilities. Recommended treatments may include water therapy to ease joint stress and low-impact exercise.
SI joint pain is fairly common, although the true source of pain is sometimes misdiagnosed during initial treatment efforts. Some patients experience different levels of pain throughout the day. Treatment is based on the severity of discomfort and duration of pain. For this reason, successful management of pain requires consistent and detailed feedback from patients.
Learn more about solutions to back pain by calling leading Los Angeles spine surgery center The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757. Schedule an in-person consultation with an experienced board-certified orthopedic specialist and begin the journey to a pain-free life.