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Convincing physicians of SI Joint pain

Hello everyone! I have been lurking around for about a year and I see these posts about the IFuse surgery. This is a very encouraging site.
I have had low back problems for 13 years and have managed it pretty well until 2 years ago when I fell on an ice patch. I landed on my right bum cheek and had black and blue bruises for 3 weeks. I didn't think too much about the fall until the following summer when I noticed that my low back and groin area really started hurting after I had walked 3 miles or so (I had walked my first 5K.) I mentioned it to my Chiropractor and we started working on trying to find the problem. That was 2 years ago. I have seen 4 orthopedics, 2 pain management physicians, and worked through 10 weeks of PT. I have had 3 rounds of epidural steroid injections on each side of L3, L4, L5, and S1 and the right SI Joint; as well as RF Ablations on both sides and the right SI joint. A discogram and a MRI in the past month. My chiropractor, pain management docs, and the PT folks all agree the pain is coming from my SI joint. But the other docs don't even acknowledge that SI joint can cause pain or even be dysfunctional. So, the question is this, how do I convince a physician(s) that the SI joint needs to be looked at?
There is a physician (only one in the state) in my area that does the IFuse surgery, however, there is a 4 month wait and he doesn't have the greatest reputation. There are several physicians in a nearby large city that I have thought about seeing, but my insurance may not cover the costs.

Thanks for your time.
Kerri in Arkansas


  • janiskijjaniski Posts: 679
    edited 01/15/2014 - 1:30 PM
    Sorry to hear about your SI issues. I have been thru many of the procedures you have and am fused L1 to S1 from an accident that also wrecked my SI joint. The gold standard for SI joint dysfunction is two cortisone injections into the SI joint that provide relief.

    I was very fortunate that my spine surgeon went to the IFUSE training so he could do the procedure on me. It really changed my life pain wise. The pain was gone immediately when I woke up in recovery. I had both the right and left done 6 months apart.

    I would think that insuranve would cover the cost of IFUSE as it is less invasive, done as an outpatient so saves the insurance co money by no hospital stay plus only one surgeon, no assisting surgeon. Recovery is half the time of open surgery.

    Good luck and let me know how it goes.


    Perhaps you could contact IFUSE as they have a list of providers. I know they are training more surgeons as they frequently offer trainings.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Thanks for the articles, though I doubt if this doc would read them. He doesn't believe in SI Joint dysfunction because he (personally) hasn't ever seen it. I think that is ludicrous, but it is what it is and he isn't the only surgeon in my area.
    I have had two steroid injections in the SI Joint that provided temporary relief of a couple of hours. Along with my pain management docs (I have seen 2), and both of my chiropractors, I highly suspect that I have SI Joint dysfunction. I also have DDD L3-S1 with bulges.
    The one physician in my area that has been trained to do the ifuse procedure doesn't have high recommendations on healthcare, so I am hesitant in going to him. I can travel 3 hours and see a physician in another state that is both highly recommended and has been trained in this procedure.
    This is so very frustrating. You would think that I was asking them to believe in the boogy man. All I want is to get rid of the this pain and get on with life. I have fibromyalgia and CFS, so I deal with pain on a daily basis.
    Thank you for your input.
    Kerri in Arkansas
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