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One of several different types of sacroiliac treatment may be used when the sacroiliac joint becomes misaligned. This is generally known as sacroiliac dysfunction. In most cases it can be managed without the use of surgery, although this may become necessary for highly progressed conditions or in those which are accompanied by debilitating pain. Most often this condition affects women, primarily those in their 30’s and 40’s who have had children. The stretching and relaxing of the joint during pregnancy and childbirth can make it more susceptible to injury.
Sacroiliac dysfunction is often missed during a physical examination, so patients are encouraged to bring it up if no other cause for pain is found. Unless the joint is checked directly by having the doctor move or adjust it to one side, the diagnosis is often missed. If caught early, most patients can be successfully treated.
One of the different types of sacroiliac treatment is physical therapy. This involves patients working directly with a therapist to stretch and move the body in ways that may realign the joint. In some cases, the muscles surrounding the joint may also be cause for concern, because during a misalignment they can begin to press on the sciatic nerve, causing pain. If physical therapy alone doesn’t help alleviate symptoms, then manipulation of the joint by a trained chiropractor may be the next step.
Steroid injections are other one of the different types of sacroiliac treatment. These are injected into the joint to promote healing. In some cases, Botox® has also been successful in treating symptoms like back pain and discomfort. This works by relaxing the area and causing nerve cells to stop being as receptive to pain.
If none of the different types of sacroiliac treatment options work, then surgery is usually the last resort. Although noninvasive, joint surgery carries risks, including infection. Before surgery the joint must be aligned and then the patient must be given general anesthesia to prevent all movement so that it remains in the right position. Realignment may be performed again after anesthesia is given to ensure it is still aligned before the surgery is performed to fuse the joint in place.
Once the patient is asleep, the joint is secured and fused in the correct position by using metal screws in one or both sides. This is done using an X-ray or ultrasound machine as a guide through small incisions in the pelvis. Careful attention is made not to damage any surrounding nerves or muscle tissue. After surgery, patients are generally able to return home the same day. Rest and relaxation are recommended until full healing has taken place.