Back Pain: Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Dysfunction

Back Pain Information

Author: Atlantic Spine Center - Contact:
Published: 2017/03/31
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Pain that originates in the sacroiliac joint may be felt in the lower back, buttocks, or legs, and felt on one side or both sides.


Back pain, one of the most common reasons for missed work, is suffered by one half of working Americans in any given year*. "Almost all of us suffer back pain at some point in our lives," says Dr. Kaliq Chang, interventional pain management specialist with Atlantic Spine Center. "But back pain is not a specific disease. The back is a complex structure and pain is a symptom that can be caused by any number of problems - sprained ligaments, strained muscles, ruptured discs, irritated joints. The sacroiliac joint is often overlooked but it is the source of many cases of lower back pain."

Main Digest

There are two sacroiliac joints, one on either side of the spine. They link the sacrum, the lowest part of the spine above the tailbone, to the right and left iliac (pelvic) bones. The joints are small and very strong, reinforced by strong ligaments that surround them, and do not have much motion.

The sacroiliac joints support the entire weight of the upper body when we are erect and they absorb impact forces during walking, preventing those forces from reaching the spine. The joints are subject to a great deal of stress, which can lead to wearing of the cartilage layer covering the bone and degenerative arthritis, the most common cause of sacroiliac joint pain. Other causes of sacroiliac joint pain include loosening (laxity) of the joint, degenerative sacroiliitis (inflammation) and conditions that affect the normal walking pattern.

"The terms 'sacroiliac joint dysfunction' and 'sacroiliac joint pain' are often used interchangeably but are not quite the same thing," says Dr. Chang. "Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is abnormal motion of the sacroiliac joints. It often causes pain but not always. Sacroiliac joint pain is pain that starts from the sacroiliac joints. It may be caused by joint dysfunction or it may have other causes, such as arthritis or inflammation."

Pain that originates in the sacroiliac joint may be felt in the lower back, buttocks, or legs. It may be felt on one side or both.

Sometimes standing up triggers the pain, sometimes sitting for a long time is particularly uncomfortable, and sometimes sleeping is disturbed. A physical examination, imaging tests, and diagnostic injections may be used to pinpoint the source of pain. "When we identify the sacroiliac joint as the source of pain, we typically recommend conservative - non-surgical - treatment," says Dr. Chang. Those treatments might include:

"When these conservative therapies fail to bring lasting relief, there is a minimally invasive interventional procedure available that removes the nerves sensing pain signals to the joint, "says Dr. Chang. At Atlantic Spine Center we offer a procedure called an endoscopic sacroiliac denervation. In this procedure the branches of sensory nerves that provide innervations to the sacroiliac joint are excised through a minimally invasive endoscopic approach, providing a thorough destruction of the sensory nerves to the joint without fusing or altering the bones of the joint. It is much more comprehensive than a sacroiliac radio frequency ablation and much less invasive than a sacroiliac joint fusion. Dr. Chang adds that this procedure is not provided by most interventional pain management physicians.

Kaliq Chang, MD, is a board-certified physician who is fellowship-trained in pain management at Atlantic Spine Center. Atlantic Spine Center is a nationally recognized leader for endoscopic spine surgery with several locations in NJ and NYC.

Related Publications

Share This Information To:
𝕏.com Facebook Reddit

Page Information, Citing and Disclaimer

Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and carers. We'd love for you to follow and connect with us on social media!

Cite This Page (APA): Atlantic Spine Center. (2017, March 31). Back Pain: Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Dysfunction. Disabled World. Retrieved July 13, 2024 from

Permalink: <a href="">Back Pain: Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Dysfunction</a>: Pain that originates in the sacroiliac joint may be felt in the lower back, buttocks, or legs, and felt on one side or both sides.

Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified medical care. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.