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SI Fusion? When did the doctor say that it was right? When did you?

rosies4posierrosies4posie Posts: 9
edited 08/03/2015 - 3:01 PM in Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Problems
I am wondering what symptoms you had and what x-ray's and MRI's showed for you all when you and or your doctor started looking into fusion surgery.

I'm at the point where I feel that is the only thing I haven't tried and now I can't find a doctor that won't write me off as exaggerating. I'm only 20 but have been dealing with SI and lower back pain for about 10 years. I have either ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis. X-ray's show degeneration, partial sacralization of L5 (more so on right than left), narrowed disc between L5-S1, sclerotic "changes" on the right side, signifigant degeneration on the left SI joint and summarized it as asymmetric sacroiliitis. My MRI shows arthritis is various facet joints and narrowing of L4-L5. I have trouble/pain with walking, standing, stairs, sitting, driving, etc., etc., etc. I've tried PT, chiro, massage, and injections. Doctor's won't prescribe pain medication due to my age.

I feel like I'm just stuck between a rock and a hard place and I'm unable to figure out what to do. My quality of life is just going down the drain and I'm feeling so hopeless. I've been trying to find a doctor who will really look at my SIJ and potentially do a fusion but I'm wondering if they will disregard it (as doctors so often seem to) because of my "lack" of physical signs on imaging. *********************************************************************************************************
Welcome to Spine-Health

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--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 08/03/154 21:00est



  • I am having what we believe is an S-i joint situation going on myself. When I say we,I mean my physical therapist, primary doctor and and myself. As far as I know the real only way to be sure if it is the S-i joint is by getting an injection in the joint of a pain killer and having immediate temporary relief( couple of hours) . I have been doing some exercises that my pt has given me and there has been slow progress. He told me from the get go that is could be a year long process. There are some interesting videos on you tube with some exercises and stretches which I also have been working in as well.

    MY symptoms are pain in groin when going to a standing position after sitting for a while. It was debilitating a couple of months ago and has gotten a lot better. My lower right back is also tight when standing after sitting. I have a very noticable waddle when walking as well. I aslo cannot bring my knees together when laying on my back with my heels together . After stretching I can get them to about an inch apart, but before stretching it is about 5 inches. For this reason alone I am very hopeful with continued stretching and exercising I will eventually get to where I need to be.. Also I am an avid golfer and 2 months ago I thought I would never swing a club for a long time and I have been out golfing the last 2 weekends. It was not pretty and pain free but it was something I never thought would happen this year.

    All I can say is stay positive and keep working to get better.....good luck to you
  • To give some more info,
    My mom has psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. She has very few issues with her spine.
    I have been going to rheumatologists for years. I've been looking for an ortho doctor who has experience with the SI joint.
    I've tried physical therapy, ultrasound / tens unit, spinal injections in facet joints, SI (with significant relief though unfortunately, temporary !!!), trigger point and piniformis (sp?) muscle. Acupuncture, chiropratic, and massage therapy as well.

    The only surgery that has been suggested was fusion of L5-S1 for the narrowing disk space. I thought this was ridiculous because I've had that since I was 10 years old (that I am aware of), and I have had injections there with no pain relief and apart from the narrowing, the disk is healthy and in better shape than some of the disks above it, (specifically L4-L5 has been suggested as a potential of nerve pain that is shooting down my leg).

    Nothing I've been treated with physically, or medicinally, has been of much if any help.

    I guess my main confusion is why a doctor would suggest surgery for a mostly healthy joint but refuse to discuss a pretty clearly diseased one? He said he doesn't do surgery on SI joints which is fine and he is going to refer me to someone else (if the main surgeon agrees that it may be helpful for me) but he all but refused to even address it.
    Thanks, Rose

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