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SI Joint/back surgery

I was not really sure where to put this and if you can suggest a better place for it I would happily move it. Anyway I had a fusion of L4 L5 S1 in late 2011. After it was done he had to go back in and replace the screws that had fallen out about 2 months later. I have been doing fairly well. Trying a ilttle PT and to get out and walk a little. Just recently about a month ago I started getting extreamly painful what feels like cramps in what the doctor now tells me is my SI joint. Last couple of times I have been to PT I have had to stop numerous times because it hurts so bad. It is mostly on the left side and when it hurts like that it goes down my leg till right above my knee cap. I saw my back surgeon yesterday and he said the surgery site looks great but then he went back and looked at some old x-rays and they were of the SI joint. He did say there was quite a bit of digenerative in the joints. He wants me to have injections in my joints. Now I did that many years ago long before any back problems to speak of and it did not seem to work. I am will to give it a try again. At this point a little pain reliefe is better then none. My husband is not so sure he wants me to the shots only because it is just a temporary fix. He would like me to find something of a more permanet fix and I am not so sure there is such a thing. So I come to you my trusty friends. First has anyone had the cramping like I do in their joint and secound is there such a thing as a permanent fix? My surgeon said there was nothing he could do but I get the feeling he was blowing me off. So will look for your replys. Thanks so much. Michelle


  • alexhurtingaalexhurting Posts: 1,991
    edited 01/31/2013 - 2:36 AM
    Injection is not a fix but helps confirm if it is the si joint or not, Too much movement causes pain to the sciatic nerve in the si joint, They do have a surgery they been doing for si joint issues when its confirmed its the si joint,

    The trick is making sure that is the cause before having a permanet fix !

    Just read up on the si joint procedures, Good luck,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Alex is right - the injections into the S.I. joint could be for diagnostic purposes and, if the pain subsides, then they know it's the pain generator.

    I too have had 2 level fusion (in 2010). I have also had S.I. steroid injections, without much pain relief. It was explained to me at the time that having the fusion surgery puts more strain onto the S.I. joints - as it is this joint that takes the strain because the spine isn't so flexible any more. I have pain in both S.I. joints and sometimes cannot sit down because it feels like a knife is digging into me.

    There is a surgical option to fuse the s.i. joint (called 'I-fuse', I think), but not many surgeons perform this as there isn't alot of data available on the success rates. It's a nasty operation to recover from, from what I've heard on this site, and it may cause more problems than it solves in the long term.

    Are you in the UK? If so, I think the I-fuse is even less well known here.

    I hope you can have the steroid injections, if only to find out if it is the S.I. joint and not sciatic nerve that's causing your pain. Good luck.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • edited 02/01/2013 - 11:09 PM
    Hi Michell,
    A few thoughts...first of all, its my understanding that injections can occasionally be a permanent fix if there is a recent injury. Probably not often but its possible. Second thought, my doctorsaid injections work better and longer the closer to the initial injury. They might work for months, which would give doctors more time find better treatments. Third, traditional si joint surgery is pretty invasive with significant blood loss. Its a pretty hard recovery. Finally, I had Ifuse minimally invasive surgery January 3 2013. I am nearly pain free in my si joint after 15 years of pain. Unfortunately, there is a problem with one of the implants impinging on the nerves. Its healing and as long as I follow my recovery plan, I should do fine. The doctors are still determining the best after surgery care plan and its everything from walking the same day to months of walker/wheelchair/crutches. Check in with the sacroiliac forum on here. They are many people on there with experience. Good luck
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