Question: What kind of medications work best for sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

What kind of medicines work best for sacroiliac joint dysfunction – something to block the pain, like Tylenol or an anti-inflammatory? Are there any natural supplements or diet changes I can make to help with the pain? I have just been taking ibuprofen when the pain flares up badly, but it takes awhile to work and doesn’t do enough to curb the pain. I would like to stay off narcotic medications if possible, as I don’t like the side effects, but I do need something more robust than what I am doing now.

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Doctor’s Response: The best medications to take initially would be Tylenol followed by an anti-inflammatory.

The best medication to take initially would be Tylenol, of course within its prescribed regimen. If that was not effective, then an anti-inflammatory might be appropriate; and, most people start off with over-the-counter ibuprofen. Be sure that you do not have any sensitivity to this drug, and that you do not have any stomach ulcers or gastrointestinal problems, which can be made worse by this medication. A stronger anti-inflammatory can be prescribed by your primary care physician. I do not have any experience with natural supplements or diet changes; although, I am the first to admit that they possibly do occur. It would be good to stay off narcotic medication.

In my practice, the first steps in treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction are medications, along with restriction of activity, and wearing a sacral belt. Also, a confirmatory diagnosis must be made at some point if treatment programs are not working. The gold standard for diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction is by injection, using fluoroscopic image, a trained professional, and an anesthetic and a steroid preparation.

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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 The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.