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Your Health

The Back Pain That’s Hard To Find

Posted: 10/18/2013

No bones about it: In many cases, back pain comes from the sacroiliac joint
No bones about it: In many cases, back pain comes from the sacroiliac joint.

(NAPSI)—Chronic low back pain is an experience shared by millions—and a mystery that often goes unsolved for years. The National Institutes of Health says Americans spend at least $50 billion a year on low back pain, and it is the most common cause of job-related disability. And much of that issue can be blamed on the difficulty of diagnosing the cause.

Causes of Low Back Pain

Low back pain is often generalized as coming from the spine, particularly degenerating disks. But studies have shown that 15 to 30 percent of chronic low back pain is actually caused by dysfunction of the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which transfers weight and movement between your upper body and your legs. The SI joint is frequently overlooked as a potential source of pain.

SI joint pain can arise from a traumatic event or from degenerative conditions and can affect men and women of all ages. The pain can occur in the back, pelvis and buttock area or hip and it can shoot down the leg in a fashion that mimics sciatica. And that, in turn, can inhibit walking, sitting or sleeping.

Most spine surgeons, however, are trained to look first at the vertebrae and spinal disks as sources of the pain, rather than the SI joint. And most MRIs and X-rays of aging spines show degenerating or narrowing disks that tend to support the more common diagnosis. One study has found that among “failed” spinal fusion patients—people who had their lumbar vertebrae fused and were still in pain afterward—the SI joint turned out to be the culprit in well over half the cases.

Low Back Pain Treatments

Treatments for SI joint pain include physical therapy, chiropractic manipulations, oral medications, and injections. If these treatments are not effective, surgery may be the next option considered.

“We have come a long way in correctly identifying and treating the source of low back pain in our patients,” said Dr. David W. Polly, Chief of Spine Service at the University of Minnesota. Recent advances in minimally invasive surgical treatment for the SI joint offer a promising alternative for those in chronic pain.

iFuse Implant System Solution

The most common surgery in the U.S. for the SI joint is the iFuse Implant System from SI-BONE, which is intended for sacroiliac joint fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis. iFuse involves the insertion of small titanium implants to stabilize and fuse the damaged joint.

The personal and economic cost of back pain can be monumental, particularly when the source is not accurately identified. Chronic SI joint disorders remain a frequently undiagnosed condition, but once it is pinpointed, the iFuse technology offers a potential solution.

Learn More

For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of SI joint pain, as well as the iFuse Implant System, visit www.si-bone.com.

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