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Questons about SI Joint dysfunction....

wildfire_101wwildfire_101 Posts: 68
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
Questons about SI Joint dysfunction....

I just have a few questions about the SI joint. what are some of the symptoms of si joint dysfunction? I did some researching online about this but would like to hear some things about it from "real" people who have had problems with it or know something about it..I have had some unexplained pain in my lower lumbar right side of my back, right butt cheek and thigh as well, also hurts when i walk...

Keep in my mind as a quick background I just had a one level spinal fusion at the L5-S1 done in Dec.2010 and also have a nerve disorder called RSD in my left leg with 45% ROM left that came from quad muscle atrophy...had a knee surgery in April of 2008 that my body rejected and got diagnosed with RSD not to long after that...and now walk with a cane being in have muscle weakness that isn't ever going to get better...

Went to physical therapy 2 days ago and he looked at it b/c i was in so much pain i couldn't do anything that day other than lie there. but he did a "survey' as he calls it, and had mentioned that maybe that joint could be inflamed or even possibly could be a slight pinched nerve. Like he said though he isn't a doctor and was just throwing some ideas out there that i could at least discuss with my doctor..

I was already waiting for a phone call back from the doctor's office b/c i couldn't take the pain anymore, so i had given them a call to see if there was anything he could do for me or even see me to check it out, especially being my next appt wasn't until Nov.29th..His PA called back this morning and pretty much said i don't know what is wrong with me and just keep taking the pain killers and valium for the pain...and if the pain persists to call back and then hopefully he would get me in to be seen.

I had thought about calling my PM doctor to see if he could get me in to be seen and check it out but hadn't done that yet...so my questions are like i had asked/said earlier what are the symptoms and treatments for it? Also how would you even know if that was your problem? I just know that it constantly hurts in the areas that i described and it has been going on for the last few months.. I just want to try and figure what is causing my pain.. I am not trying to diagnose myself, just getting some ideas together to at least be able to discuss with the doctor..

So if anyone can tell me anything about this i would greatly appreciate it. after my PT said that, that could possibly be it, figured I'd ask on here and find out what i can/could about it..thanks for any info....


  • Hi,

    I had L5/S1 fused the end of march. It was very successful getting rid of my symptoms of pain and weakness (pain in lower back, weakness in R leg). My vertebrae had started slipping forward.

    A couple of months after the surgery I had pain in my low back again, this time when I would bend forward. The surgeon said it was my SI joint. Since I am fused above it it is putting too much stress on my SI joint which was injured years ago.

    I had cortisone injections to see if that would help and also to be diagnostic. If the pain eased it was definitely the SI. The first ones didn't work (I have never had much luck with cortisone injections and reluctantly went for another round). This time it worked and the pain eased greatly. The combination of the injections, a new anti-inflammatory (voltaren) and my pain meds have kept the pain under control.

    The PM doc said I needed to have both SI joints pinned (another word for fusion) but I certainly don't want to do that. I have already had 3 fusions and do not want to even think of more.

    Hope this helps and good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Thank you for responding to my post i appreciate that...That certain area in my back, butt and thigh hurt no matter what i do other than when i lay down for a while...the pain killers don't totally take the pain away but it does take the edge off so it is bearable for a while..and i try not to take the valium during the day unless absolutely necessary b/c they make me tired and i have 4 kids i need to take care of, plus I'd like to sleep at night as well...Taking a nap during the day would end up keeping me up at night...lol

    As for any type of cortisone,lumbar epidural steroid or even lumbar sympathetic block shots i have never had any luck with.. Spent all that $$$ on 7 shots in total and not even the slightest relief what so ever...though the cortisone shots were for my right knee when i was having problems with that and it eventually led to surgery as well...so i prefer to not even go down that road again, let alone have anyone stick me again in the back for anything...lol

    And as you are I am also fused right above that joint but didn't know that it (the joint) could possibly cause problems later on...I walk with a slight limp from the RSD that leans me toward the right side of my body and have now for over 3 yrs..so maybe that might have something to do with it..my back is shifted some from what i was told from the way that i walk.. but i can't help that...I have to have the cane b/c i have no balance at all...

    Inflammatory's don't work for me all that well either..experienced this with both of my knee issues, which in turn led to surgeries.. which i already mentioned...for some reason my body/system is really sensitive to certain things and some of these happen to be it...so i am always stuck between a rock and a hard place when something goes wrong..But being that my back doctor won't see me until i guess i absolutely can't walk or i am crying b/c the pain is that bad (said this just being what he told me on the phone when i tried to get in), I am thinking about giving my PM doctor a call and see what he has to say and I know he'll at least see me and check things out, that is just the way he (the doc) is..

    So I'll possibly try that if i don't feel any better by Monday, being their closed today anyway...but thanks again for all the info, no matter how little or how big it all helps...i am still new at this.. all of this is the 1st time that i have ever had to deal with back problems before...thanks again....
  • Good luck with talking to the PM doc. I know what you mean about cortisone. I had given up years ago and only did it for my back surgeon to satisfy him before surgery. Now I am glad I did it the 2nd time for the SI. I sure wasn't looking forward to it. The first time they did not give me the relaxant drug til after the procedure had started and could never catch up to the pain. The next time I had it BEFORE I went to the OR and don't remember a thing. Maybe that was why it was so successful, I was so relaxed!!

    Stretching is good too. You want to keep your hamstrings, psoas and piriformis (part of glutes) stretched. You can find stretches for them online I am sure, hopefully with illustrations. It would be too confusing for me to try and explain.

    Some people have a fusion and never have any further problems. Others have problems because the fused joint puts stress on the joint above and below. My spine was so damaged in an accident (a hit and run by a snowboarder, a case being in the wrong place at the wrong time) so it is no surprise that I have additional problems. My 2nd fusion was because my spine was collapsing in on itself. Damn snowboarder basically ruined my life.

    Back pain is no fun. Let me know how it goes with PM doc.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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