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Where Is Sacroiliac Joint Pain Commonly Felt?

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Sacroiliac joint pain can cause pain down one or both legs, and the person may have trouble sitting. Many people also feel stiffness in their buttocks or back. At NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute, located in northern New Jersey, board-certified neurosurgeons, led by Dr. Branko Skovrlj, specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery to treat all kinds of neck and back pain.

Here, we discuss sacroiliac joint pain.

What Is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

The body has two sacroiliac joints that are in the lower back and sit on each side of the spine. They are where the lower spine and pelvis meet. Their main purpose is to carry the weight of a person when they stand or walk.

Sacroiliitis is a painful condition that affects one or both sacroiliac joints. It can be difficult to diagnose because sacroiliitis can be mistaken for other causes of lower back pain.

Those who suffer from sacroiliac joint pain describe it as a dull or sharp pain that starts in the sacroiliac joint and then moves to the buttocks, groin, thighs, or upper back. Standing can trigger pain and some patients experience pain on only one side of their body. Many patients who experience sacroiliac joint pain say it affects them more in the morning and subsides throughout the day.

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The main symptom of sacroiliac joint pain is lower back pain, which makes it hard to diagnose. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain that gets worse after sitting or standing in one position for a long time
  • Pain that gets worse when turning or rotating hips
  • Sudden sharp and stabbing pain
  • A constant dull ache
  • Pain that radiates from the lower back into the buttock muscles, hips, or thighs

While sacroiliac joint pain often happens in the buttocks or lower back, it can also affect the legs, groin, and feet. Certain movements can make sacroiliitis pain worse, including:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Having more weight on one leg than the other
  • Running
  • Sleeping or sitting for a long time
  • Standing for a long time
  • Taking large steps when moving forward

What Can Cause Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain is fairly common, affecting between 15% to 30% of patients with lower back pain. Causes of sacroiliac joint pain include:

  • Arthritis: The normal wear and tear of the joints happens with age. When it happens in the sacroiliac joints, it is called osteoarthritis.
  • Infection: In some cases, a sacroiliac joint can become infected, which can cause pain in the joint.
  • Injury: A sudden impact injury, like a fall or motor vehicle crash, can damage the sacroiliac joints and cause pain.
  • Pregnancy: Sacroiliac joints loosen and stretch in preparation for childbirth. The added weight and change in gait during pregnancy can stress the sacroiliac joints.

Diagnosing Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Before an official diagnosis of sacroiliac joint pain, the neurosurgeons at NU-Spine will give the patient a physical examination and go over their medical history. From there, the neurosurgeon may recommend other diagnostic testing.


An X-ray uses high-energy electromagnetic radiation to take images of bones.

Computed Tomography

A computed tomography, or CT, scan is a medical imaging technique used to get detailed internal images of the body. A CT scan can show bones in more detail than an X-ray can.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Also known as MRI, this diagnostic testing uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of the organs in the body. An MRI allows neurosurgeons to see the spine, soft tissues, and nerves in greater detail than with other types of scans.

What Is the Best Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Advances in spine treatments have produced more effective sacroiliac joint pain treatment options that include non-surgical and surgical treatments if needed.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Dr. Skovrlj and the other neurosurgeons at NU-Spine recommend conservative non-surgical treatment options to treat sacroiliac joint pain at first, like:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications: Over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy treats an injury through exercise, stretching, and heat massage.
  • Steroid injections: Also called a corticosteroid injection, it is an anti-inflammatory medication that can be injected into the area of pain.

Surgical Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

If non-surgical solutions do not work in the long term for treating sacroiliac joint pain, Dr. Skovrlj may recommend a minimally invasive spine surgery. A minimally invasive procedure involves making an incision of two centimeters or less near the injured area where a small tube is inserted. The tube holds a microscope, camera, light, and precision tools that will guide the surgery.

The team at NU-Spine prefers to use minimally invasive techniques because it eliminates the need to cut through muscle and tissue. Benefits of a minimally invasive spine surgery include:

  • Quicker results
  • Less blood loss
  • Less muscle and nerve damage
  • Less bruising
  • Faster recovery time
  • Lower risks

In most cases, a patient will be able to go home on the same day as the surgery to begin recovery at their homes.

Choose NU-Spine to Treat Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The world-renowned staff at NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute are advocates of minimally invasive spinal surgery. This technique is as effective as traditional spine surgery but is less invasive, which leads to a quicker healing time for the patient. In some cases, it is more effective than traditional spine surgery.

Whether a patient has sacroiliac joint pain or is seeking a more accurate diagnosis of neck and back pain, visit NU-Spine as soon as possible. We are conveniently located in Paramus, Woodbridge, Toms River, Jersey City, and Holmdel, New Jersey.

Transform your life with a touch of care! Experience the cutting edge in minimally invasive spine treatments. Don’t wait for relief; schedule your appointment with our spine experts today and take the first step towards a pain-free future. Contact us today.

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