… The Best & The Worst Treatments
Your sacroiliac (SI) joints, the points where your spine meets your pelvis, are located at the two “dimples” in your lower back. As you age, wear and tear on your SI joints’ cartilage can become damaged, allowing your bones to rub together, leading to pain and eventually even osteoarthritis, which is one of the leading causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Because your sacroiliac joints support the entire weight of your upper body when you stand, walk or perform any other upright activity, pain in this area can be debilitating. Along with lower back pain or burning near the SI joints, sacroiliac joint dysfunction can also lead to weakness, numbness or tingling in your legs, muscle pain in your buttocks, hips or low back (especially after sitting too long), nerve irritation in your groin area or thighs, and sciatica, a sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the back of your leg.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers are often considered first-line treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction, as they are with many types of back pain. If these measures do not relieve your symptoms, and your pain is severe enough, surgery to fuse the joint together to eliminate movement may be recommended.
However, these common treatments are actually among the worst available for this condition, because they do nothing to address its underlying cause! And, ironically, lumbar spinal fusion surgery that may be used to treat certain back conditions like degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis is actually linked to causing sacroiliac joint pain and dysfunction![i]
What are the Risks of Conventional Sacroiliac Joint Treatments?
Cortisone injections straight into the joint and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are among the most common treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction. But there are some important points you should know …
Regarding cortisone injections:
- The effectiveness of cortisone injections is controversial. For instance, one study found only 29 percent of patients who received a corticosteroid injection for sacroiliac joint pain reported improvement after six months.[ii]
- It’s possible to feel increased pain after the injection typically due to allergic known as “cortisone flare.” This happens when the cortisone crystallizes causing pain worse than the discomfort of inflammation the injection is intended to treat. The injections themselves are also painful for some patients.
- While rare, severe side effects such as joint infection, nerve damage, and weakening of nearby tendons and bones are possible.
- These drugs are not only among the most frequently prescribed in the world, they are also among the most frequently prescribed for back pain.
- However, research suggests they have only a small benefit for back pain compared to placebo, with a much higher rate of adverse events; further, at least one study found use of a heat wrap was superior to NSAID therapy.[iii]
- NSAIDs are notorious for being hard on your gastrointestinal tract, leading to potentially fatal side effects such as bleeding in your digestive tract, ulcers and perforation of your stomach or intestines. One type, Celebrex, has even been found to double your risk of serious cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure and death![iv]
Both cortisone injections and NSAIDs are designed to decrease inflammation, which is often a major contributor to pain — and this they do well. However, they do not address the underlying causes of inflammation, they only mask it temporarily. Because it is not solving your issues, you will need another injection or another dose sooner or later to keep the pain at bay.
In any condition in which inflammation is present, it is frequently overlooked that a healthy diet is actually one of the best ways to reduce inflammation naturally. While sugar, soda, alcohol, margarine, and refined carbs like bread are known as pro-inflammatory foods, vegetables and healthy fats, such as omega-3 fats found in fish, act as anti-inflammatories. There are also natural supplements available like Heal-n-Soothe, which contains natural anti-inflammatories combined with proteolytic enzymes to give your body a powerful and proven one-two punch against inflammation and pain. This will give you pain relief without side effects while you work on addressing the causes of your back pain.
The Best Sacroiliac Joint Treatments Treat Its Underlying Cause …
So what is the underlying cause?
An accident, such as a fall or car accident, which strains the ligaments around the SI joints, allowing for too much movement, can certainly cause SI joint pain. However, much more often the cause is insidious, occurring over a number of months or years due to:
- Incorrect walking pattern, which may be caused by obesity, an injury or pain in your hip, knee, ankle or foot, or due to a difference in leg length
- Pregnancy, during which hormones relax the ligaments supporting the SI joints, allowing for increased movement of the joints that can lead to imbalance and excess wear
As noted in the book Sports Medicine Acupuncture:[v]
“Non-traumatic conditions causing sacroiliac pain are an outcome of a repetitive pattern of joint motions that have a cumulative effect on the joint such as those associated with swinging a golf club. This pain can also come from occupations that require sitting for long periods of time. The patient with a non-traumatic injury may report the pain as having an insidious onset or may have awakened with pain with no recollection of injury the day before. In non-traumatic sacroiliac injuries, pelvic rotation and muscle imbalance are always found.”
This is why Muscle Balance Therapy, which can help generate balance and stability in your pelvis and spine, is one of the best sacroiliac joint treatments available. Unlike drugs, injections or surgery, muscle balance therapy can pinpoint what caused your spine and pelvis to get out of proper position in the first place. Through strategic body assessments, your individual muscle imbalances can be identified and a very targeted corrective program — designed specifically for you to help restore proper function to the joints — can be developed.
Also worth trying is inversion therapy, which involves using an inversion table to invert your body at varying degrees of incline (not necessarily completely upside down) to help compensate for the pull of gravity that compresses and wears down the discs in your back on an around-the-clock basis. Among the benefits of inversion therapy are helping to realign your spine and supporting better posture, both of which will help address your underlying causes of pain.
Again, this is the key!
If you believe you are destined to a lifetime of medications and medical procedures just to mask or lessen your pain temporarily, you have been sorely misled. Now is the time to demand more — a pain-free life for good — by exploring the best sacroiliac joint treatments around. Options like muscle balance therapy, inversion therapy, and others you will learn about in the FREE LosetheBackPain.com newsletter (subscribe above right!) have your back pain gone in days, even if it’s been plaguing you for years.
This actually happened to Jerry Talisman, who had suffered from chronic back pain on and off for over 50 years. Like most people, he had tried it all … chiropractors, physical therapy — he even overdosed on Tylenol — but nothing gave him lasting relief until he discovered muscle balance therapy. You won’t know what your success story will be until you begin your journey to find real back pain relief.
Written By: Updated: February 15,2012