Question: Is there a specialist for sacroiliac joint problems?

Is there a specialist for sacroiliac joint problems? I’m thinking an orthopedic surgeon might be best qualified, but I’m not sure. Also, when I go to the doctor, what should I expect in terms of questions he will ask, tests to expect and treatments? I have already talked to my personal trainer about this, and she says it sounds like sacroiliac joint problems and we have changed my workouts, which has helped some, but I think really overall it is getting worse and I should go to a doctor. I have sharp pain going down my right leg, pain in my lower right back and buttock. I only want to go to one doctor to get this right, so I want to be sure to pick the right kind of doctor right off the bat. Thank you.

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Doctor’s Response: A physiatrist is best for diagnosing sacroiliac joint problems.

The best doctor, in my opinion, for sacroiliac joint problems at the ground-level of diagnosis, would be a physiatrist. This is a doctor of physical medicine and rehabilitation. This doctor is trained to look at both the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint as potential pain generators. This professional can also do injections to verify the diagnosis, and put a patient with a dysfunctional sacroiliac joint through the appropriate steps for diagnosis and treatment of the dysfunctional sacroiliac joint.

I should also mention that when personal trainers, massage therapists, physical therapists, and chiropractors feel that it is a sacroiliac joint problem, my experience is that they are frequently correct. When those individuals can no longer help in treating the pain, this is when a physiatrist should be sought to do appropriate injections, make the diagnosis, and get you farther along with treatment.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.