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SI Joint Dysfunction/Tear Since 1995

Hi, I'm new to the site and forum and have been reading many of the posts. I have been dealing with SI joint dysfunction for 20 years after having an injury at work due to reaching and picking up a box. It felt like a bolt of lightening went through me. It took my breath away but after some time, I was able to move and seemed to be alright until a few days later when I woke up with excruciating right leg pain.

Unable to walk on my right leg, I called urgent care and was told to come into the clinic. Luckily, my primary physician was on that weekend and she diagnosed me with a SI Joint sprain and recommended that I see a chiropractor and she prescribed pain meds and I was told to go home and rest for a few days. Upon seeing a chiropractor and having x-rays done, she tried to manipulate my pelvis and si Joint but due to the pain level I was in, she was afraid to work on me. I continued seeing her for months with very minimal relief.

Over the years of dealing with excruciating pain, and going to many dr. appts., different care providers, chiropractic appts., x-rays, scans, injections, nerve blocks, pain medications, depression, and attending a pain management program for six weeks, etc...... and told it was all in my head, I was finally sent to a physical medicine doctor who got to the bottom of it. She sent me in for an arthrogram scan, where they inject die right into the joint. I believe this is the only way they can truly tell if it is torn. Although, the procedure to get the results were so painful, I was happy to finally have a proper diagnosis. From my understanding an x-ray or MRI will not show a tear.

The doctor I worked with was involved with a SI group of doctors and physical therapists who met monthly to have their own discussions, etc. I was also lucky enough to have been working with a physical therapist at my local hospital who was also in this group of elite professionals so I was covered on both ends. Both recommended that I have prolotherapy injections because I was told surgery wasn't a fix at the time and if I opted for that choice, I would be locked into one position the rest of my life. This was not an option for me. At the time, I had five children home and was working a full time secretarial job and had just started another part-time job, waitressing to help my daughter who would begin having college expenses in the fall at the time of the injury.

I ended up having to quit the waitressing job and was either off of work entirely or put on a half time work schedule as tolerated regarding my secretarial job. After weeks of being off, and constantly being told that it was only a temporary situation from so many at the onset, I went back to work. But basically because of the pain level and instability of the joint, my day consisted of going to work for 4 hours, returning home, taking more pain meds and going to bed until I needed to get up to make supper. Then after feeding my family and trying to do minimal household chores and helping with children with their homework, I was back in bed for the night until the next morning when I needed to get up for work. Of course, I couldn't sleep well because of the pain level either and was always trying to be somewhat cognitive of how I was moving so that I would keep the pelvis in line. I wore a belt to keep everything stable but it only helped minimally. I would go in for adjustments with my physical therapist and upon getting back into my car, it would go back out. This was very frustrating and depressing. I wasn't functioning at all, really, just trying to go through the motions to get through each day or minute.

Not only going through this physically but mentally and spiritual, as well. It totally affects you as a person, someone who has been active and was used to working hard and then all of a sudden you can't do anything. It takes it tole. Then of course, the financial part of all of this. Of course, I reported this to my employer and received work comp benefits but when it was time to settle, the system puts you through all kinds of disheartening things; doctors who are told to tell you everything is fine and that you are capable of working your job, when you're not. So of course, money not coming in as anticipated and then having to file for social security disability. After twelve long years of trying to work 4 hours per day, my doctor took me off of work permanently. If it hadn't been for my husband and I would have had to rely solely on my income for expenses, we would be out on the street. I totally feel for all of you having that struggle along with the pain, as well. Prayer, my faith in asking God for help, and my supportive and loving family got me through many long days.

Approximately six years ago, I went through six months of prolotherapy injections every two weeks. It worked, but I was told that it would not be permanent and that I probably would have to go through it again. This was a miracle for me and it gave me my life back, at least for quite a while. Last fall, while weeding which I shouldn't have been doing, I had a reoccurrence and ended up seeing my physical therapist again at least twice a week. I decided that it was time to proceed with prolotherapy injections again, injecting both sides of the SI, and right now it is stable. I continue to be on daily meds and occasionally need adjustments but so far, so good.

To this day, I continue to be on daily medications including Baclofen, Prozac used for depression and pain management, Tylenol with codeine as needed, anti nausea medication and migraine meds when pain radiates up my back into a migraine, and Protonox due to all of the stomach pits I have from taking anti-inflamatories. I continue seeing my physical therapist as needed and pray that this last round of prolotherapy injections will hold for a while.

This has been a long road and not an easy fix by no means. My primary physician recently told me that she has another patient who also had a tear in the SI, who had surgery but she hadn't had a follow up with him to know how he is doing. I am anxious to hear if there are new treatments and/or surgery to repair the damage that's been done.

I feel blessed to have a supportive and loving husband through all of this along with many great care providers along the way. Since the onset of the injury, I have had four of my five children graduate college, get good jobs, marry and have children. We now have 14 grandchildren, ages ranging from 3 months to 10 years old. One of our children, now an adult, is disabled from a neurological disorder from before birth, continues to live with us. As I tell her, we all have something we have to live with and that no one is perfect. but we have to do the best that we can given with what we are able to.

If I can be of any help to others who are experiencing this, please feel free to write me. I think I've been through it all, with the exception of having a fusion. Stay strong!!


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    edited 04/09/2015 - 2:44 PM
    Yes, it sounds like you had your plate full...but you did come through it! Very happy with outcome of your story.
    Sometimes when feeling better we are active in ways that may cause that pain one worked so long to be rid of..or at least control.

    Sometimes..I think...it is good to remember the pain and stay with some limitations and proper alignment as to not tempt the body into painful situation again.
    You seem to have wonderful attitude! You must be blessing to your family!
    Continue to take care of yourself ...for yourself..and also for your loved ones ...esp, for those depending on you.
    Thank you for sharing your story!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we do have to make adjustments and make a new "norm" for ourselves. I always try to stay positive but I've also had my moments when I thought, how can I keep going like this? I just have to remember to pace myself and prepare for those times when I cannot. Thanks again, wishing you well, too.
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